Iran’s Majlis began the first day of a vote of confidence for the cabinet nominees proposed by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday.
According to BBC:
The Majlis will hold a confidence vote on Wednesday, but correspondents say the president is struggling to win backing in the predominantly conservative body. The latest objections by MPs have been leveled at his choice for education minister, one of three women nominees.
Education Minister-designate Sousan Keshavarz presented her case in the 290-member Majlis, promising to privatize public schools and raise teachers’ salaries. She also stressed her Islamic revolutionary credentials. “I have grown up in a family which appreciates (Islamic) values and took part in religious events as well as in rallies against the shah’s government… and have been a member of the women’s Basij,” she said in a speech quoted by AFP. The Basij is the volunteer Islamic militia which has spearheaded a crackdown on opposition protests. The influential education commission chairman, conservative Ali Abbaspour, said if Ms Keshavarz’s nomination was passed she would have to be impeached. “She has only a year’s experience… and is talking of the same programs outlined by previous ministers. The president has to nominate a strong minister,” he was quoted as saying.
Mr Ahmadinejad’s other two women nominees, Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi and Fatemeh Ajorlou, are among 14 cabinet hopefuls who lack ministerial experience.The cabinet needs approval from more than 50% of sitting MPs. The 220-member conservative bloc constitutes an overwhelming majority in the Majlis.
Iranian press reports described the exchanges between Mr Ahmadinejad and leading conservatives on the first day of the debate on Sunday as unprecedented. Mr Ahmadinejad defended his government as the “cleanest” possible. He rejected accusations that he had simply chosen ministers who would be obedient “yes-men”.
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Conservatives and reformers alike accused him [Ahmadinejad] of nominating unqualified people without consulting MPs. The defence minister-designate, Ahmad Vahidi, is wanted by Interpol in connection with a 1994 bombing in Argentina that killed 85 people, although some observers said that might bolster his support among hardliners in defiance of international pressure on Iran.