Iranian election extended for third time amid long lines at polling places

Voting in Iran’s presidential elections has been extended for a third time, with polls now closing at 11 p.m.

Polls had initially been slated to close at 6 p.m., but were extended until 11 p.m. to accommodate “a rush of voters.”

More than 60,000 polling stations have been operating around the country to serve Iran’s 56 million eligible voters. Reports say the polls have seen a strong turnout thus far in an unexpectedly tight race.

The election is a key test for the nation’s moderate President Hassan Rouhani, who is facing a trio of challengers, two conservatives and a reformist, in his bid for a second term.If no candidate wins an outright majority of Friday’s vote, a runoff election between the top two finishers will be held next week.

Rouhani is seen as the favorite by political analysts and in the small amount of polling data that’s been produced. His main challenger isEbrahim Raisi. Pro-reform candidate Mostafa Hashemitaba, who previously ran for president in 2001, and former culture minister Mostafa Mirsalim are the other two candidates in the race.