Iran Hopes

A Weblog on Iranian Affairs (Formerly Iran Votes 2005)

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

From Commander Qalibaf to Mayor Qalibaf...(and to Presdient Qalibaf?)

Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf has been appointed as new mayor of Tehran. He gained the majority of Tehran City Council votes (8 to 7) to get the position. Qalibaf is Iran's fomer chief police commander, from which he resigned in last April to participate in the ninth presidential race. Although he was regarded as a top contender, he eventually ranked fourth in the race of eight rivals.

Some observers argue that Qalibaf's appointment as mayor has come as a result of an internal compromise between hard-liners and conservatives. He might have a good record in initiating reforms in the police form but has no credentials in civil management. Hardliners themselves are already divided in terms of their reactions to Qalibaf's election as mayor. While some tend to favour him for his background in Sepah and police force as well as loyalty to Khamenei, others seem not to have forgotten his attempts during elections to distance himself from the ultra hardliners and to depict himself as an advocate of -albeit moderate- social, economic, and political freedom.

Be it as it may, Qalibaf has got a marvellous opportunity to prove himself as a competent 'civilian' leader. No doubt that he has not given up his ambitions for becoming Iran's president one day. So will he use this new job as a ladder to the top job in the same way as Ahmadinejad did? Will Qalibaf be the next Iranian president?

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