Photograph by Tasnim News Agency, via Wikimedia Commons.  Accessed 13.09.17

 

Three weeks after his re-election, and three days after his swearing-in ceremony, incumbent Hassan Rouhani introduced his proposed Ministers to the Iranian Parliament for a confirmation vote. The selection process in itself was not without challenges, and after high hopes that the President would choose a more reformist Cabinet, the result was disappointing for some of his supporters.

This loss of support was already expressed in mid-August, right after the official presentation of Rouhani’s second Cabinet. Voters were quick to point out that, despite his campaign promise to increase the presence of women in higher positions, Rouhani presented an all-male Cabinet. To counter the widespread criticism, on the 9th of August, Rouhani appointed two female Vice-Ministers and a Special Assistant. Former Vice-President for Women & Family Affairs Mollaverdi was appointed Special Assistant for Citizens’ Rights. Former Head of Iran’s EPO Ebtekar replaced Mollaverdi as the new Vice-President for Women & Family Affairs, and Joneydi was appointed Vice-President for Legal & Judicial Affairs.

Contrary to the appointment of Ministers, Vice-Ministers and Special Assistants do not need to be approved by Parliament; and so this move represented somewhat of a quick victory for Rouhani in easing his supporters’ concerns. Another returning Minister that has failed to convince Rouhani’s more reformist supporters is Interior Minister Fazli. Furthermore, Rouhani was criticised for having appointed provincial governors that were considered either too conservative or unwilling to stand up to their conservative adversaries.

On the 20th of August, the Iranian parliament voted to approve all of President Rouhani’s proposed ministers — except for Energy Minister Habibollah Bitaraf.