Iranian conservative candidate Qalibaf pushes rivals out

    REGION  17 June 2024 - 16:58

    Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, Iran’s presidential candidate from the so-called fundamentalist grouping, said on June 16 that he is “more prepared” than other nominees for the office, implicitly calling on those that he sees as placeholders to withdraw.

    A snap presidential election is due on June 28, after the death of Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash on May 19. The Guardian Council oversees qualifying candidates and has approved six figures, with five belonging to the fundamentalist political faction and one representative of the opposing group known as the "Reformists", according to IntelliNews.

    Speaking on state television on June 16, he highlighted his record in executive positions, saying he is more prepared than other candidates to advance the agenda.

    He said the revolutionary front “must agree on one person before June 28”, implying that the other fundamentalist nominees were selected as placeholders.

    “This rationality, this sacrifice and this kindness certainly exists in the revolution front, and this will surely happen,” he said in remarks that sounded like a request.

    Qalibaf is a leading candidate among the conservatives, who also call themselves the “Revolutionary Front”, referring to the Islamic Revolution of 1979. He has attempted to gain the presidency several times before, but each time was rebuffed by the voting public.

    This is while Saeed Jalili, Qalibaf’s key rival in the faction, has shown no such intention.

    Reports had already circulated in Iranian media about the two candidates’ pressure on each other to withdraw, with neither one giving in.

    Mahmoud Nabavian, a member of Jalili’s campaign team, had said earlier that the candidate’s prospective withdrawal is an “electoral lie”.

    He has even implicitly accused Qalibaf of being a “contractor” rather than an executive manager suited for the president’s office.

    If what Qalibaf predicted happens, the final presidential competition will be between two candidates from each political front, potentially Qalibaf and Masoud Pezeshkian from the reformists.

    Qalibaf was a commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, chief of police and mayor of Tehran before finally grabbing the position of parliament speaker.

    He has already run for president three times, losing twice and withdrawing once in favour of Raisi.

    In the present presidential race, he has repeatedly stated that he would go along the course of Raisi and has made zero indication that he could help the younger generations, who overwhelmingly distrust the ageing Islamic Republic.

    Qalibaf has a poor reputation for his crackdown on student protests during his term as chief of police and faces criticism about suing journalists as well as several cooperation cases and probes on those surrounding him, including family members.

    His name is also linked to reports in 2022 about his wife and children purchasing a luxury house in Turkey and buying expensive brand new-born essentials for his grandchild in Turkish malls.

     

    Caliber.Az

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