London- Tehran’s municipal council named on Thursday the final candidate for mayor behind closed doors, replacing incumbent Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf with a pronounced reformist.
The reformist majority council agreed to elect presidential economic advisor Mohammad-Ali Najafi instead of the current conservative mayor Ghalibaf. The incoming mayor is expected to boost Tehran social programs.
Reformists officially announced consensus on Najafi after the withdrawal of five other candidates, reported Iranian sites.
Najafi also was unanimously voted in by the 21-member body.
The reformist bloc won a majority of the council’s seats, with the most outstanding winners being the son of former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohsen Hashemi, as well as the culture minister of the reformist government Ahmed Masjid Jamami.
Iranian media reported that Najafi , a former education minister, will formally submit necessary documents for the post to the interior ministry, followed by the swearing in after the official vote in the Tehran municipality.
The post of mayor of Iran’s biggest city, which has a population of more than 12m, has often been used as a platform to launch more ambitious political careers: Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, the populist president who was in power from 2005 to 2013, was Qalibaf’s predecessor as Tehran’s mayor.
But Najafi, 65, has said he has no aspirations to run for president and promised to put an end to the politicization of the municipality, increase transparency and promote the private sector.
Tehran’s new city council will assume authority as of Aug. 23. Reformists accused the outgoing mayor Ghalibaf of handing over development projects to the Revolutionary Guards without going through a proper tender process.
Najafi is prompted by his supporting bloc as an anti-corruption hero, as opposed to his alt-right conservative predecessor. Najafi will immediately work on draining the swamp and tackling municipality corruption, said some reformists.
However, he might face resistance from hardliners who will be reluctant to give up the interests they have established over the past decade.