Reformist Policy Council Needs Structural Reform

Reformist Policy Council Needs Structural Reform

Head of the Reformist Policymaking Council acknowledged the need for structural change in the body amid mounting internal criticism over the workings of the council.
Differences began to emerge when the body fielded a list of 21 candidates for the recent Tehran City Council election that was swept by the reformist-moderate bloc.
Reformist and moderate critics questioned the eligibility and loyalty of some of those enlisted.
"With regard to the criticism of the performance of Reformist Policymaking Council, its structure and mechanism needs to be revised to boost its status," Mohammad Reza Aref said in a ceremony in Tehran on Friday to celebrate the sweeping victory of the council's candidates in the capital.
"It was expected that we would face objections after announcing the final list But if we really believe in democracy, we should respect common wisdom and help the elected councilors properly fulfill their responsibilities to the people," IRNA quoted the former vice president as saying.
Several pro-reform factions and moderates allied with the policymaking council in the 2016 Majlis elections, including the Independents and Moderates Front, had released separate tickets for the council vote.
Unlike other elections supervised by the Guardian Council, the city council polls are overseen by a special parliamentary board, comprising three members of the Iranian parliament's Councils and Internal Affairs Commission and two from Article 90 Commission.
Over 2,700 hopefuls had been qualified for the Tehran council vote from among 3,000 applicants.
The elected councils are in charge of electing the mayor, supervising the municipality and approving its budget. Overall, there are 39,575 council seats in 1,245 cities, 1,057 counties and 2,589 villages.
The poll was held concurrent with the presidential and midterm parliamentary elections.
President Hassan Rouhani won in the major showdown with conservatives and was reelected with 57% of the vote, bolstering the power of the reformist-moderate alliance that had previously robbed the conservative camp of its eight-year grip over the legislature in last year's Majlis election.
Prominent figures on the pro-reform council slate include former culture minister, Ahmad Masjed-Jamei, former deputy interior minister, Mahmoud Mirlohi, Secretary-General of Neda Party Majid Farahani and former lawmakers Ebrahim Amini, Ma'rouf Samadi and Shahrbanoo Amini and top vote-getter Mohsen Hashemi, a former head of the Tehran Metro and son of the late ex-president Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
A 2016 Majlis enactment reduced the number of Tehran council seats from 31 to 21.  


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