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Former Mayor Accused Of Corruption Elected Iran's Speaker Of Parliament

Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf during his presidential campaign in the Iranian capital Tehran on May 14, 2017.

The newly elected Iranian parliament dominated by conservatives and hardliners elected a former mayor of Tehran and a former Revolutionary Guard general as Speaker on Thursday, local media reported.

The former mayor, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf (Ghalibaf) garnered 230 out of 264 deputies present in parliament.

The 58-year-old Qalibaf was also a presidential candidate who ran against hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the so-called moderate incumbent President Hassan Rouhani in 2005 and 2017. He is an Islamic Revolution Guards Corps' Brigadier General and served as the country's Chief of Police from 1999 t0 2005.

On Wednesday morning in unofficial gatherings, Qalibaf garnered 166 votes, while his main competitor, Hamidreza Hajbabayee, received just 57 votes, signalling Qalibaf's selection before the official vote on Thursday.

Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, who leads a new political formation of various fundamentalists, named as "Neo-Principlists", had worked hard in the past few days to win the seat of the Speaker of the eleventh Majles.

For a while many doubted that Qalibaf can get elected as Speaker because of large-scale corruption at the Tehran city hall during his mayoral tenure. His successors claimed that more than $5 billion was misappropriated or wasted during Qalibaf’s term as mayor.

Qalibaf, 58, replaces Ali Larijani, who served as the parliament's speaker from 2008 until this May.

The Presidium of parliament has twelve posts, and in recent days, competition between various fundamentalist factions for these positions has intensified.