Reformists Want Say in Rouhani's New Cabinet

Reformists Want Say in Rouhani's New CabinetReformists Want Say in Rouhani's New Cabinet

A top reformist politician called on the recently reelected President Hassan Rouhani who is vetting nominees for his second Cabinet to take into account opinions of those who supported him in extending his mandate.

"The president is expected to consult the Reformist Policymaking Council about his Cabinet," IRNA quoted the council's chairman, Mohammad Reza Aref, as saying on Thursday.

"The president is also expected to pay attention to the views of the council, for we have a shared goal, which is that the government responds to popular demands," he told a meeting of reformists recently elected to city councils across the country in Tehran on Thursday.

The last presidential election and city council votes were held concurrently on May 19. Rouhani won an emphatic reelection with 23 million plus ballots cast in his favor, which meant a solid 57% to 38% win over his principlist challenger Ebrahim Raeisi who garnered about 15 million votes.

The president is scheduled to take the oath of office in the parliament on August 5 and he will have two weeks from the swearing-in ceremony to propose his 18 Cabinet members to parliament for a vote of confidence. Vice President for Parliamentary Affairs Hosseinali Amiri said last Wednesday that Rouhani is going to present his list of Cabinet members to parliament right at the inauguration ceremony.

Bahram Parsaei, the spokesman for the reformist parliamentary faction, said last Saturday they believe more than 50% of the Cabinet makeup needs to change so that Rouhani can make good on his electoral pledges.

  Main Concern    

Aref said his call on the government does not mean they seek a "share" in the Cabinet for the "undeniable" role they played behind Rouhani's presidential success.

"There is no doubt that Rouhani's victory was the result of the effective support coming from reformists", but their main concern is whether the government fulfills the public demands "to prove to the people they made the right decision" by trusting him and reformists. Reformists had voiced support for Rouhani months prior to the May election.

In the 2013 votes, Aref, himself a presidential candidate, stepped aside in Rouhani's favor to boost Rouhani's campaign, which was already aided by a divided field of five principlist candidates.

The lawmakers have one week since the inauguration day to examine the credentials of candidates and then the aspirants will appear before parliament to outline their plan of action. Rouhani faced big difficulties in earning the approval of the previous principlist-dominated parliament to put together his first Cabinet in 2013, but a strong reformist faction in the current Majlis led by Aref would probably make light work of Cabinet formation.


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