EghtesadOnline: The new, more government-friendly parliament gave the go-ahead to President Hassan Rouhani’s nominees for three ministries on Tuesday.
In a confirmation session broadcast live by state TV, Seyyed Reza Salehi Amiri, the candidate proposed for the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, was confirmed with 180 lawmakers in favor, 89 against and six abstentions.
A total of 193 lawmakers gave their approval to Masoud Soltanifar, the nominee for the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs. Some 72 lawmakers opposed him and nine abstained.
Fakhreddin Ahmadi Danesh-Ashtiani also won a yes from 157 legislators, while 111 were opposed to him and six abstained, to become the new minister of education.
Before the voting, each of the proposed candidates had the floor for half an hour, defending their credentials and demonstrating their competence.
After each nominee spoke, a debate was held in which lawmakers for and against took turns to address the legislature.
The proposed replacements needed a simple majority of votes in the 289-member assembly to take office.
In the past week, the nominees had held various meetings with lawmakers in specialized commissions and factions to elaborate on their plans and rally support.
The ministerial appointments came after the president on October 21 accepted the resignations of the ministers of sports, culture and education, Mahmoud Goudarzi, Ali Jannati and Ali Asghar Fani respectively, who had tendered their resignations after serving for over three years.
The move, which was described as a partial reshuffle of the Cabinet to improve its efficiency, surprised political circles, as only eight months are left for the incumbent administration.
Rouhani Defends Choices
This was the second appearance of nominees in parliament, since all three had failed to secure the approval of the previous principlist-dominated parliament in 2013, reports Financial Tribune.
Salehi Amiri, 55, the head of the National Library and Archives Organization, was first proposed for the Sports and Youth Ministry but was not confirmed, just like another nominee for the same ministry, Soltanifar.
Soltanifar, 57, was later assigned by the president to head the Cultural Heritage, Handcrafts and Tourism Organization.
Ahmadi Danesh-Ashtiani, 61, a university professor, was rejected by the Majlis for the Science Ministry.
President Rouhani attended the Majlis session and gave a speech in defense of his nominees for the three ministerial posts at the beginning of the session.
Rouhani described Salehi Amiri as a "motivated and hardworking" friend, who has a deep knowledge of the country's cultural concerns and problems, and can gather together Iranian intellectuals, thinkers and artists and lead their efforts to promote cultural values.
The president said Soltanifar's successful record in managing the cultural heritage organization promises that he can satisfy the expectations of youth and sports community.
Rouhani introduced Danesh-Ashtiani as an eminent academic with a long experience of working in the education system, saying an Education Ministry under his watch will definitely bring positive transformations for teachers, students and their families.
On October 19, the president issued a decree appointing Mohammad Bothaei, Abbas Salehi and Nasrollah Sajjadi as caretakers for the ministries of education, culture and sports respectively.