Ghalibaf seen with Supreme Leader Khamenei in this undated photo

Iran's Ghalibaf Re-elected Parliament Speaker Despite Challenge

Tuesday, 05/28/2024

Veteran politician and former IRGC general Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf was re-elected as Speaker of Iran’s new parliament on Tuesday, after the March 1 low-turnout election.

Ghalibaf faced attacks by hardliners in the past few weeks, who were expected to challenge his bid for re-election as Speaker. However, with 198 votes out of 290 parliamentary seats, he secured a second term.

The election came less than 10 days after President Ebrahim Raisi was killed in a helicopter crash, which rattled the upper echelons of the clerical government in Iran. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in speeches following Raisi’s death had called for solidarity among regime loyalists.

Ghalibaf’s only serious challenger, Mojtaba Zolnur, a hardline cleric received 60 votes. Observers had predicted that Khamenei would back Ghalibaf’s re-election as Speaker, since he is a reliable loyalist and independent of the ultra-conservative Paydari (Steadfastness) Front.

Ghalibaf's name is also being mentioned as a possible candidate for the snap presidential election scheduled for June 28 to choose a successor to Raisi. He has run for the presidency in the past although he has not announced his intentions for this round.

Hardliners have dominated the Islamic Republic’s parliament since 2020, when the Guardian Council, controlled by Khamenei, barred hundreds of other regime insiders from running in the previous elections. The March 1 vote witnessed the repeat of the 2020 mas disqualifications, leaving mostly hardline loyalists to compete over the parliamentary seats.

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