Will Losing Candidates Join Rouhani Cabinet?

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With Hassan Rouhani’s landslide victory, the futures of some his competitors appear uncertain. Websites that supported Rouhani’s campaign have already begun to speculate who the president-elect will pick for his cabinet. Mojtaba Hosseini has written in Reformist newspaper Etemad about the next steps for the five losing candidates.

In the article headlined, “What is the Political Future of Rouhani’s Competitors?” Hosseini wrote that Rouhani’s victory “brought to life the memory of Reformist president Khatami’s victory in 1997.” Hosseini continued, “The Priniciplists had access to all sorts of tools and means to win the election, but Rouhani had his heart set on only the dormant power of the people. Rouhani’s victory, which was a yes from the citizens to the popular desires of the Reformists and Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani and a big no to the management model of the Principilists, will create new conditions in politics and economics, and we must expect large changes in the management of the country.”

Hosseini wrote, “Just as Rouhani will move his office from the Center for Strategic Research to the president’s office, presumably there will be changes in the jobs and careers of some of the candidates who lost. … There have been unofficial reports that some officials will say goodbye to politics. But what can we expect from the five candidates who lost?”

Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf “lost with a large margin to Hassan Rouhani. He went to great efforts at the mayor’s office to secure his victory. But even with the services, and building of squares and streets of Tehran, he was not able, like Ahmadinejad (who was Tehran’s mayor before becoming president),” to achieve his goals, wrote Hossein. “He ran for election before and couldn’t win, and thought that this time we would be compensated. In response to accusations that his planning wasn’t effective, he said, ‘I have been planning for the presidency for eight years.’” In 2009, Ghalibaf was a candidate and withdrew in favor of Ahmadinejad in an election during which Principilists were united. Many felt that Ghalibaf would be rewarded for his decision with the full support of the Principlists this year.

“Given that the Reformists received the majority of the votes in city-council elections, it appears that Ghalibaf will say goodbye to the mayor’s office. … From what is heard from some political figures and online, he will have to wait one year, when the five-year term of Ezatollah Zargami is over, to be head of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting.”

“Saeed Jalili, who has been Iran’s top nuclear negotiator for the past six years with the West, by criticizing Hassan Rouhani’s tenure as negotiator, attempted to make himself President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s successor,” Hosseini wrote. “But with the majority of the votes, the people have shown that they approve of Rouhani’s methods in negotiations over the other candidates. …When Rouhani takes office, Saeed Jalili, given his past work, will return to the State Department and Imam Sadegh University.”

“Unlike Ghalibaf and Jalili, Mohsen Rezaei’s future seems very clear,” Hosseini wrote. “…In these elections, he was able to attract some popularity, but just as when he lost in 2009 and returned to his post as secretary of the Expediency Council, he will do so again. … It could be foreseen that he will present his economic plans at the discretion of the president.”

Hosseini wrote that the supreme leader’s foreign-policy adviser Ali Akbar Velayati, “who was supported by traditional Principilsts, had a smile at yesterday’s Expediency Council meeting, which revealed that he is happy with the election of his old friend. … He didn’t criticize Rouhani in the debates, and even when Ghalibaf and Jalili criticized Rouhani, Velayati took sides with Rouhai. … With the positions Velayati took in the debates, perhaps he will succeed Saeed Jalili as the head of the National Security Council and implement Rouhani’s foreign policy.”

Mohammad Gharazi, who received less than half the number of the blank or void votes, “will return to daily life,” wrote Hosseini. Despite having held various posts in the Islamic Republic in the past, he has been far from politics or political positions for years and “will return to his post of president of the board of the Moshanir engineering consulting firm.”