Seven candidates succeeded to win the necessary votes to compete for the post of mayor in Tehran, during a session of the new Tehran City Council on Wednesday.
The order of votes received by each candidate is as follows:
Mohammad Ali Najafi: 21 votes
Hossein Mar’ashi: 20 votes
Elahe Koulaei: 16 votes
Seyyed Mohammad Ali Afshani: 14 votes
Habibollah Bitaraf: 12 votes
Mohammad Shariatmadari: 11 votes
Mohsen Mehralizadeh: 9 votes
The six candidates vying for the sought-after position have been given two weeks to present their roadmap to the council, which plays an integral role in the selection of the mayor.
Mohammad Ali Najafi
Najafi, 66, is a veteran reformist politician and a senior economic advisor to President Hassan Rouhani. He served as minister of education for eight years under the late president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (1989-97) and was Rouhani’s top choice for the same portfolio in 2013, but failed to secure enough votes in parliament, which at that time was controlled by Rouhani’s political opponents.
He was later appointed at the helm of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization but resigned six months later, citing poor health.
Najafi also served as the head of the Management and Planning Organization from 1997 to 2000.
He has a master’s degree in mathematics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
A former parliamentarian, the 60-year-old Mar’ashi was a former director of the Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Organization, and Kerman province governor general.
Marashi has a bachelor’s degree in economics from University of Tehran.
A researcher and instructor of political science at University of Tehran, Koulaei, 61, is the only female candidate for one of the most critical and seemingly unthankful jobs in Tehran simply because fixing the capital’s monumental problems is not suitable for the faint-hearted.
With a PhD in international relations from Tarbiat Modares University, she is a former journalist and once served at the Foreign Ministry.
Koulaei is a senior member of the Coordination Council of Female Reformists.
Seyyed Mohammad Ali Afshani
Afshani has been serving as governor general of Fars Province since 2014. Prior to his appointment to this post, he had brief stints as deputy governor-general in Semnan, Khuzestan and Kohgiluyeh-Boyerahmad.
He is a former deputy minister of education and headed the Organization for Renovating, Developing and Equipping Schools. Afshani received a badge of honor from the president in 2005 for “years of service to the country.”
Bitaraf, 61, has previously served as deputy energy minister and Yazd province governor general. He currently is the deputy oil minister for engineering, research and technology.
Shariatmadari, 57, is a former minister of commerce (before the ministry merged with the Ministry of Industries and Mines in 2011 to form the Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade) and current vice president for executive affairs.
He holds an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from the University of Kerman, and has been involved in Iranian politics since the early days of the revolution in 1979.
A former presidential candidate in 2013, Shariatmadari is a foreign policy advisor to the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
Mehralizadeh, 61, is a reformist politician. He has served as the head of the National Sports Organization and the governor general of Khorasan province. He ran for president in 2005.
The pro-reform Hope list succeeded to win all the council seats in Tehran on May 19 election, concurrent with presidential election.
Ending urban decay, expansion of the ageing public transportation networks (subway system and Bus Rapid Transit) , tackling air pollution, reducing the number of residential and commercial towers popping up in tiny lanes across the capital, fighting corruption in the 22 mayoral districts, closer oversight of multi-million-dollar contracts to the army of companies working for the municipality and finding a solution to the increasing number of beggars/vagrants on the streets and junkies in the working class districts must top the new mayor’s agenda.