Iran parliament approves most Ahmadinejad ministers

Despite the rejection of three ministers, the cabinet can still start working and Ahmadinejad has scheduled its first meeting for Sunday.

Iran parliament approves most Ahmadinejad ministers

Iran's parliament approved on Thursday 18 ministers and rejected three in President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's proposed new 21-member cabinet following his re-election in June.

Deputies rejected three of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's proposed new 21-member cabinet, which followed the hardliner's re-election in a disputed June election, the speaker announced.

The Ahmadinejad had four of his first-choice nominees rejected by the assembly in 2005.

Crucially for Ahmadinejad, heavyweight nominees including the oil, defence, intelligence, interior, economy and foreign ministers were all approved by MPs.

"A new era of constructive cooperation between parliament and government started today," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying by official media shortly before the vote result was announced.

Ahmad Vahidi as defence minister received the highest number of votes in favour of all nominees, 227 out of 286 members of parliament present, in a show of defiance.

Oil Minister Massoud Mirkazemi received the lowest number of votes of the approved ministers, 147. Iran is the world's fifth-largest oil exporter and crude sales account for most state revenue.

Like several other nominees, Mirkazemi, who was commerce minister in Ahmadinejad's outgoing government, had been criticised for alleged lack of experience.

In 2005, Ahmadinejad failed to get his first three choices for oil minister appointed due to parliamentary opposition.

The three nominees who were rejected this time were the proposed energy, welfare and education ministers.

Of three nominated women ministers, only Health Minister Marzieh Vahid-Dastjerdi was approved. She will become the Islamic Republic's first female minister.

Ahmadinejad has three months to propose new candidates to replace those voted down by the 290-seat parliament.

Despite the rejection of some ministers, the cabinet can still start working and Ahmadinejad has scheduled its first meeting for Sunday, state radio said.


Reuters

Last Mod: 03 Eylül 2009, 15:29
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