Najafi sole candidate for Tehran mayor

August 11, 2017

TEHRAN — Mohammad Ali Najafi remains the sole candidate who is widely expected to take up the post of Tehran mayor in the coming days or possibly weeks.

Out of Najafi’s six rivals for the post two –Habibollah Bitaraf and Mohammad Shariatmadari- were named for cabinet ministers and the rest withdrew their candidacy over the last few days. 

According to Morteza Alviri, the interim chairman of the new Tehran city council, Najafi is the final candidate for the post and he will be formally elected as the mayor at the first session of the council which is said to fall on August 23. 

Najafi, 66, is a reformist figure who held office at the Education Ministry from 1988 to 1997. He then served as the head of the Budget and Planning Organization until 2000. The former board member of Sharif University’s school of mathematics won a seat at Tehran city council in 2006.

In 2013, with Hassan Rouhani elected as the president he was named among the proposed cabinet members for the Education Ministry, however he didn’t manage to secure the required votes for the post. 

He also served as the director of the Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Organization in 2013 but resigned in the same year and was appointed as vice president for economic affairs.  

In 2014 he was appointed as the caretaker for the Ministry of Science and Research to replace the then Science and Research Minister Reza Faraji-Dana.

In his proposed plan for Tehran titled “Tehran: City of Hope, Participation, and Prosperity” presented to the council on Thursday, Najafi has said that he has no links with any political group and that he would steer clear of politics during his term as mayor.

He further highlighted that he would make people with disabilities a priority, establish constructive relations with the administration and appoint directors with urban planning and management experiences.

In an interview with the national TV, he made a commitment to Tehraners to create better living conditions by the end of his four-year term at the municipality. 

“I would make use of all the existing facilities to fulfill the citizens’ demands which is to live in a reasonable degree of mental and physical comfort.”

The pro-reform Hope list succeeded to win all the 21 council seats in Tehran on May 19 election, concurrent with the presidential election. The new Tehran city council, the fifth of its kind, has not formally convened yet and as per a statement issued by the Interior Ministry the inaugural session of the council will take place on August 23. 
 
MQ/MG

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