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Why Tehran's mayor just can’t seem to win over Iranian voters

Are Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf’s constant transformations responsible for the premature end of his third bid for the Iranian presidency in the past 12 years?
Tehran Mayor and Iranian presidential candidate Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf speaks at a campaign rally in Khomeinishahr in central Iran June 10, 2013. The Iranian presidential election will be held on June 14. Picture taken June 10, 2013.  REUTERS/Fars News (IRAN - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS) ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS -

Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf on May 15 decided to end his third bid for the Iranian presidency in the past 12 years. In line with his propensity for undergoing transformations, he once again sought to portray a new image of himself this year, sparking claims that he was copying the agendas of other presidential candidates, both in and beyond Iran. Ultimately, the uncertainty among voters about who the Tehran mayor really is may have been the chief cause for the premature end of his latest bid for the presidency.

Having long dreamed of being president, Ghalibaf first ran for office in 2005. He secured 14% of the votes in the first round of polling that year, and came in fourth place. Just months before the vote, Ghalibaf had resigned from his post as the head of Iran’s police force and instead focused his efforts on changing his image as a military man. In an article published on June 28, 2005, US-based academic Behrooz Ghamari claimed that Ghalibaf sent his advisers to Britain to meet with those of the then British prime minister “to seek guidance from Tony Blair’s campaign managers on how to target the affluent middle classes of Tehran and repackage himself as a pro-reform candidate.”

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