New Parliament Opens

New Parliament Opens
New Parliament Opens

The new Iranian Parliament, known as the Islamic Consultative Assembly, opened on Saturday.

In the inaugural session attended by high-ranking officials, a message by the Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei was read out.

The new lawmakers in the 290-member legislature then took the oath of office.

After that, Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, whose body is tasked with organizing elections, presented a report on the two rounds of the legislative votes in February and April.

Finally, President Hassan Rouhani delivered a speech, in which he called for broader interaction between the Majlis and government.

The session was chaired by the eldest member, Tehran lawmaker Abdolreza Hashemzaei.

Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani, Chairman of Experts Assembly Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, Chairman of Expediency Council Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and other dignitaries were present in the parliament.

After the session, parliamentarians visited the mausoleum of the late founder of Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, to renew allegiance to his ideals.

In the Majlis elections, the List of Hope, an alliance of reformists and government backers, secured a simple majority and put an end to 12 years of principlist dominance in the assembly.

  Economy, Culture Main Priorities

Ayatollah Khamenei emphasized in his message that building Resistance Economy and promoting Islamic culture are main priorities to be observed by the legislators.

“Materializing a robust economy ... and devoting efforts to promote Islamic culture are the two immediate priorities,” quoted him as saying.

The Leader said there are other important priorities in different sectors pertaining to national might and strengthening security and immunity that guarantee the establishment of social justice, independence and progress.

Ayatollah Khamenei also touched on international developments, saying, “The stormy conditions of the region and international adventurism of hegemonic powers and their followers have put the Islamic Iran face-to-face with a more complicated situation than before,” he said.

“The country’s authority for facing such conditions requires vigilance, firm determination and initiatives by all officials. The revolutionary and legal duty upon you dear lawmakers is to make the Majlis a firm fortress against tactics and trickery and excessive demands of the arrogance and a shining of confidence point for the pious and revolutionary people.”

Rouhani said in his address that all branches of power, along with other important bodies, have their share in the country’s success or failure.

“To overcome problems and difficulties, we need [broader] interaction,” he said.

The president said the country needs $30 to $50 billion in foreign investment to reach its 8% growth target and reduce unemployment rate.

“If all of us join hands and promote Resistance Economy as the top priority, we will be able to achieve a higher growth, even 8% in the next years,” he said.

  What Next?

Eyes are on the second session of the Majlis, scheduled to be held today, in which parliamentarians should elect 12 members of the interim presiding board, including the speaker and two deputy speakers.

The interim board will run the Majlis until credentials of two-thirds of the lawmakers are approved. After that, an election will be held for the permanent presiding board, which will serve a one-year term.

Experience shows it is most likely that the permanent presiding board will be the same as the interim one, which is why Sunday’s election has drawn much attention.

In recent weeks, principlists and the List of Hope have been lobbying to attract more lawmakers to their in-the-making parliamentary factions and secure more votes for their leadership candidates.

Principlist Ali Larijani, the previous Majlis speaker and a former secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, and reformist Mohammad Reza Aref, the top vote-getter in the recent parliamentary votes in Tehran and a former vice president, are the main candidates for filling the seat of speaker.

Over 80 independent candidates will have a crucial part to play in deciding the winner of the competition, since no camp could earn the outright majority in the Majlis elections.