Iran’s parliamentary elections a vote on Rouhani’s economy

Al-Monitor – The elections for Iran’s 11th parliament since the 1979 Islamic Revolution will take place Feb. 21, a day when most people do not have to work. With many well-known Reformists barred from running, the vote will ultimately be a contest between conservative and hard-line candidates, both of whom will likely work overtime to undo the policies of moderate President Hassan Rouhani.

Headlining the list of conservatives is former Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, an Iran-Iraq War veteran, former police chief and former commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) air force. Ghalibaf’s 12 years as mayor (2005-17) were mostly without major controversy, with the exception of a real estate scandal in which members of the city council were accused of handing prime real estate to family members at a discount. The scandal quickly disappeared, however, with the arrest of the journalist who broke the story.

Ghalibaf’s long mayoral tenure seems like an oddity theses days given that the city council has appointed five different people to the office since he left it two years ago. Meanwhile, Ghalibaf is now a member of the Expediency Council, the body originally established to resolve differences between parliament and the Guardian Council but today serves more as an early retirement home for out-of-work politicians.

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