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publish date : 13 Sunday August 2017      19:16

Heavy Lobbying as Parliament Prepares to Vote on Rouhani’s Proposed Ministers

Lobbies and negotiations by the ministers proposed to the parliament have peaked. The Majlis will begin to vet the qualification of the proposed ministers on Tuesday. At least two ministers are reportedly going to have difficult job in eliciting a vote of confidence from the parliament.

(Rouhani's first administration convenes for the last time. Photo: Hamed Malekpour/Tasnim) 

 

“The vetting of proposed ministers will take place in two, morning and afternoon, shifts. Our prediction is that the procedure will end on Sunday,” the spokesman of the parliament’s board of directors, Behrouz Nemati has been quoted by Iranian media outlets.

 

At the beginning of the Tuesday session, President Hassan Rouhani will be given two and half hours to defend his proposed cabinet members.

 

The proposed ministers are sparing no effort to secure a vote of confidence for themselves. Intensive lobbying is taking place in the parliament. Some media outlets are even contributing to some of the campaigns.

 

Intensive meetings are underway between specialized parliamentary committees and the ministers proposed. The political caucuses are also pursuing their own lines of vetting.

 

On Saturday morning, six of the lesser-challenging candidates, namely Abbas Akhoundi for Roads and Urban Development, Alireza Avaei for Justice, Bijan Zanganeh for Petroleum, Javad Zarif for Foreign Affairs, Mahmoud Alavi for Intelligence, and Hassan Ghazizadeh Hashemi for Healthcare, were invited by the pro-reform bloc for a joint session.

 

In the afternoon, four other ministers, Hojjati for Agriculture, Azari Jahromi for Telecommunications, Rahmani Fazli for Interior Affairs, and Soltanifar for Sport and Youth, attended a Reformist bloc’s session to answer their questions.

 

Ten of the proposed minister also attended a session of the independent bloc.

 

According to reports and comments coming from the parliament, the vote of confidence is a certainty for most proposed ministers and the legislative branch is approaching them with a positive approach.

 

Which ministers are likely to win the highest number of votes? Referring to Javad Zarif’s meeting with the Reformist bloc, Tehran representative Fatemeh Saeedi wrote on a message posted to her Telegram channel that he will probably gain the highest number of votes.

 

Few ministers however are on shaky ground. Mohammad Bathaei for Education, Azari Jahromi for Telecommunications, Ali Rabiei for Labor, and Rahmani Fazli for Interior Affairs seem to have a more difficult job to get through.

 

“I think 16 of the 18 proposed ministers will win the vote of confidence,” member of the conservative Islamic Coalition Party and well-known businessman Assadollah Asgar Owladi said. However, lawmakers stress that it is too early to discuss the ultimate outcome.

 

One of the ministers who may fail to win a vote of confidence is Ali Rabiei. Evidence surfaced that he has ordered his subordinates in the Labor Ministry to do their best and activate their lobbies for the vote has received a severe backlash in the cybersphere. In the meantime, Iran’s major labor news agency (ILNA) is fully backing Rabiei’s campaign.

 

Azari Jahromi, the young man proposed as the Telecommunications minister is also insecure. He has multiplied his efforts to convince the lawmakers. His critics call him an intelligence figure. In a tweet posted on Saturday, outspoken Tehran Reformist representative Mahmoud Sadeghi announced Jahromi’s readiness to attend face-to-face meetings with those who claims being interrogated by him.

 

Despite remarks made by some Reformist lawmakers, evidence suggests that Rahmani Fazli, close to parliament speaker Ali Larijani, is up for a reelection.

 

Judging by lawmakers’ comments, from among the new ministers proposed, ministers proposed for economy and industry ministries seem to enjoy good support.

 

Who needs more lobbying?

 

In an interview with Fararu, pro-reform Tehran representative Fatemeh Zolghadr said new ministers need more lobbying to receive the vote of confidence. She singled out Bathaei and Jahromi, adding that the two are holding sessions to meet the lawmakers and present their own proposals.

 

Asked about Rahmani Fazli, she said some lawmakers were critical of him, and he would need more lobbying and negotiations to persuade them. “Naturally, the lawmakers would take into account the ministerial records of those re-proposed,” Zolghadr added.

 

She told Fararu that the pre-reform bloc held a polling on the cabinet before the ministers were proposed. “According to the results, the performance of some ministers in the 11th administration was weak. The poll result has been delivered to the President. Fortunately, most of the weak ministers have been put aside but two of them are still included in the list of proposed ministers,” Fararu quoted Zolghadr as saying.

 

Speaking about Rabiei, Zolghadr said he has proposed a flawless plan, which is good if would vow its implementation. “Unfortunately, some individuals propose plans but fail to implement them,” she said.

 

The Reformist bloc, she said, has created an assessment system for the proposed ministers, with forms in which lawmakers would rate them.

 

*The article above has been adopted from an original Persian story published on Fararu.



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