Tehran will have a new mayor chosen to lead its metropolitan of 12 million people today, following the resignation of Mohammad Ali Najafi last month, just six months after taking the job.
The City Council will elect either Mohammad Ali Afshani or Samiollah Makarem Hosseini—the current caretaker mayor—although it is unclear which one they will choose. Regardless, after Reformists took all 21 council seats in municipal elections last year, either Afshani and Hosseini will preserve a moderate presence in office.
But despite the dominance of Reformists, it remains extremely difficult to achieve social change in Iran. Indeed, despite citing illness in his resignation, it is widely believed Mr Najafi stepped down following pressure from hard-liners for watching a troupe of girls dance—there is a ban on young women dancing in Iran.
That pressure came from Iran’s influential and conservative clergy, which exerts a huge influence on Iranian society. With hard-line clerics—who were opposed to the nuclear deal—set to receive a political boost in the wake of its demise, expect the influence of Reformists to be tempered, despite their popularity.
Alex is a senior analyst in the Current Developments team with a primary focus on the Americas. He also serves as an editor on The Daily Brief.