A Ghalibaf poster

TEHRAN, Iran

As Iranian elections began last month, the city were plastered with campaign notices. Flyers littered the sidewalks, and posters covered the walls. It was a considerable amount of paper. Now that the election is over, all that paper is being swept up, scrubbed off and peeled away.

The final six candidates—Mostafa Mir-Salim, Eshaq Jahangiri, Hassan Rouhani, Ebrahim Raisi, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf and Mostafa Hashemitaba—had 20 days to publish their campaign advertising.

During that time, Jahangiri and Taba didn’t post any paper publicity. In the end it was only four: Jahangiri pulled out and backed Rouhani, and Ghalibaf endorsed Raisi.

Their posters—and the traces of them—tell the story of the race for the presidency of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in which Rouhani emerged victorious. I charted the course of the election using a cell phone.

Ghalibaf, who has served as mayor of Tehran for 12 years, entered Iran's presidential election promising to improve the economic conditions for regular people. He said the majority of social and welfare amenities are made available to only 4 percent of the population and guaranteed to expand these to everybody else.
Raisi, who heads a massive charitable foundation, Astan Quds Razavi, vowed in his posters to create a state of “labor and benevolence.”
Rouhani, the 11th president of Iran, used his advertising to promote the achievements of his government. This flyer is an example of that.
According to Mir-Salim’s flyer, he was participating in the elections to form a “just and true” state and with the slogan that “Rights are to be fought for.” Here he presents his academic background, noting that he studied mechanics in France.
Ghalibaf promised to reform the tax system in favor of the people, to triple subsidies to low-income Iranians and to create five million jobs.
The remains of a Raisi poster
Rouhani posters include the phrase, “I am here to create more freedom in this land.” Someone has written “our vote is Raisi” over them with a marker.
The flyers of two rival candidates are beside each other. On Raisi’s flyer reads the phrase, “Change in favor of people.”
On Ghalibaf’s posters, he lays out his platform: “Reform the tax system in favor of the 96 percent of people,” “reduce taxes for laborers and employees” and “tax reduction for production.”
Party of Rouhani’s poster
A Raisi poster
A Ghalibaf poster
On a wall, the names of Rouhani and Raisi can be seen.
Rouhani’s flyer, with the slogan “Again for Iran,” is beside the flyer for Mir-Salim. Mir-Salim was one of the harshest critics of Rouhani during the election, yet he placed third with only 1 percent of the vote.
A few days before the election, Ghalibaf withdrew his candidacy and issued a manifesto supporting Raisi.
Raisi placed second on election day with 38 percent of votes.
Rouhani was re-elected with 57 percent of the vote.
Traces of the glue can still be found throughout the city.
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