Ghalibaf re-elected Speaker of Iranian Parliament

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The former general and current Iranian Parliamentary Speaker, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, has been re-elected to head the Islamic Consultative Assembly. A total of 198 of the 290 members of Parliament voted in favour of the 62-year-old politician on Tuesday, the state news agency IRNA reported. Ghalibaf’s re-election comes as a surprise. Observers had expected him to run for the presidency following the death of Ebrahim Raisi. Born in 1961 in the northeastern city of Mashhad, Ghalibaf was appointed general at a young age and served as commander of a division of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War.

Due to his political ambitions, he also studied political geography and received a doctorate from Tarbiat Modares University in Tehran in 2001. In 2005, Ghalibaf gave up his military duties and devoted himself entirely to politics. In the same year, he took part in the presidential election but lost to the eventual winner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In 2005, he became Mayor of Tehran. His work in the capital was overshadowed by allegations of corruption.

Ghalibaf failed again in another attempt for the presidency in 2013. He finally withdrew his candidature in 2017. Critics of the Iranian system and moderate politicians are likely to remember his supportive role in the suppression of the student protests in 1999 in his role as commander at the time. The Parliament is Iran’s legislative institution. However, the real power is concentrated in the state leadership, with religious leader Ali Khamenei at the top in the role of supreme leader.

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