New reformist Tehran mayor inherits old problems

Al-Monitor | : Less than two months into his tenure as the new mayor of Tehran, Mohammad Ali Najafi is already facing serious challenges. The Reformist politician took over the reins from conservative Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, who held the post for 12 years (2005-2017). Ghalibaf’s mayorship came to an end in late August, but managers loyal to him at the Tehran municipality seem to be refusing to take new orders and have thus made the situation somewhat difficult for his successor.

After much back and forth, Najafi formally took office Aug. 27 upon the decree of Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli. The former education minister was unanimously elected to the post by the Reformist-dominated Tehran City Council following the May 19 village and city council elections, which were held in parallel with the presidential election.

The declining financial situation in the municipality made headlines even before Najafi took office. According to some media outlets, the municipality did not even have the ability to pay the salaries of its employees. As a first major step to rectify the situation, Najafi ordered on Sept. 25 an immediate suspension of the practice of issuing so-called holograms to contractors as a way of settling municipality debts. Anyone who violated this directive was to be dismissed from the municipality.

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