According to Ayatollah Yahya Jaafari, the supreme leader’s representative to the city of Kerman, (IRGC Quds force) General Soleimani’s vote will go to Tehran Mayor Mohamed Ghalibaf in the upcoming Iranian presidential elections. Jaafari’s source is General Soleimani himself, who he says told him personally about his choice in the elections.
The Tehran mayor’s election campaign received another public endorsement when 120 members of Iran’s parliament signed a declaration of support for Ghalibaf on May 28. The move indicates that Ghalibaf has the support of more than 40% of Iran’s parliament. Given Iran’s fragmented politics, especially among conservatives, such consensus is an achievement that cannot be overlooked. This along with other sources of support are increasingly making Ghalibaf a serious contender.
One source is the Tehran municipality. Comparatively speaking, Ghalibaf is one of the most popular mayors Tehran has had in the last decade. His success means that in city council elections, candidates supporting him could do well. This could also translate into more genuine votes for Ghalibaf in Tehran in particular.
There is also Ghalibaf's former position within the IRGC, where he was the commander of its air force for three years, starting in 1997. Ghalibaf recently admitted that he took part in the suppression of student demonstrations in 1999. In 2000, he was appointed chief of the national police force.Qalibaf was also a strong contender in the 2005 election that led to Ahmadinejad's first term. I forget what happened to his campaign; all I remember is something about him trying to peddle a line of cologne while running. One reason why there has been so much focus on Jalili this time around is that Jalili is seen as the favored candidate of Supreme Leader Khamene'i. Qalibaf might be ideologically acceptable, but would have more of an independent power base. However, neither the internal councils of Iran's highest leadership nor the manner in which their preferences might manifest themselves are transparent enough to say much with confidence about what June will bring.