Leader, president call on Parliament to focus on economy Leader, president call on Parliament to focus on economy Leader, president call on Parliament to focus on economy

New parliament sworn in

May 28, 2016

TEHRAN – Iran’s new parliament was sworn in on Saturday amid Iranian’s high hopes for a healthier economy.

The opening session was attended by senior political and military officials including President Hassan Rouhani, Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani, Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, and Expediency Council chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

According to the parliament’s charter, an age factor will tell who will preside over the opening session.

Accordingly, the opening session is presided over by a four-member presiding board. The two oldest and youngest will be the speaker and deputy speaker, first secretary, and second secretary, respectively.

The age-based group then determines an interim presiding board in the second session to be replaced shortly after by main one via voting.

Iranians took to the polls on February 26 and April 29, when the runoff was held, to decide who will represent them in the 290-seat body.

During the first round, 222 hopefuls were decided and the other 68 ones secured victory in the run-off.

The new parliament is distinguished from previous ones in a number of ways. It includes a record 18 women, a first after the 1979 Revolution.

Also, a fresh crop of reformist figures could win seats after almost ten years of domination of their principlist rivals.

Moreover, all 30 seats up for grab in Tehran were swept by reformist figures topped by former vice president-cum-minister Mohammad Reza Aref.

Although none of the major political factions succeeded to win a majority, reformists grabbed 42 percent of the ballots, followed by Principlists (near 29 percent), and independents (22.41 percent) with the remaining 7 percent taken by religious minorities and candidates endorsed by both Reformists and Principlists, according to Press TV.  

Whatsoever the parliamentary make-up, Iranians will expect a change of tack and this has been mainly influenced by the performance of the 9th parliament, particularly when it comes to the economic sector.  

In addition to all challenges inherited from the Ahmadinejad administration such as, inter alia, high inflation rate and unemployment, the new parliament should act in more harmony with the incumbent government so as to find a way out of the economic stagnation.

Moreover, with the government and parliament moving in unison, it would be less challenging to cope with the environmental crisis Iran is facing due to years of low precipitation and mismanagement. A more realistic confrontation with the issue will guarantee a greener Iran.

How successful the two will be in hashing out disputes over the above-cited issues hinges on, to a great extent, who will be the next parliament speaker. Two options are on the table.

One is the reformist Mohammad Reza Aref who secured the heaviest share of public backing in the metropolis of Tehran in the February parliamentary elections.

In his recent interviews, Aref laid emphasis on seeking a “participatory approach” in the parliament, saying managing the Majlis is more than presiding over the legislative body.

Leader urges MPs to prioritize resistance economy

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also issued a message outlining the MPs’ international and internal tasks, calling for vigilance against regional and international “turbulent conditions.” 

“The turbulent conditions in the region and the world and international adventurism by hegemonic powers and their followers have confronted Islamic Iran with more complicated conditions than before. The country’s authority for facing such conditions requires vigilance and firm determination and initiative by all officials,” Ayatollah Khamenei, according to leader.ir.

Referring to domestic duties of MPs, Ayatollah Khamenei noted, “The revolutionary and legal duty upon you dear representatives is to make Majlis a firm fortress against tactics and trickery and excessive demands of the arrogance and a shining of confidence point for the pious and revolutionary people.” 

Also, the Leader drew the attention of MPs to economic challenges the country is facing, attaching great importance to implementing the principles of resistance economy.

In this regard, he said, “Materializing a resistance economy along with its obligatory requirements and making serious efforts for broadening and deepening Islamic culture constitute two urgent priorities of the present time.” 

Among other priorities MPs should bear in mind, the Leader said, “There are other important priorities in different sectors pertaining to national might and strengthening of security and immunity of the country that guarantee the establishment of social justice and independence and progress of the country.”

Rouhani says quality not quantity is important in approving legislations

Delivering a speech to the new parliament, President Rouhani highlighted it is “quality” not “quantity” of the law that makes a difference, calling for benefitting from capacities of research centers, the intelligentsia, as well as political, economic, and cultural gurus.

“Quality of the law not quantity is what we need,” he was quoted as saying, adding it is only through implementing the law that problems and challenges can be overcome.

Relevant to the above-mentioned, Rouhani said, “Accumulation of rules and regulations takes us nowhere, we do need regulations transparent enough for all players of the society.”

Elsewhere in his remarks, the president stressed that for the country’s economy to flourish, there is a need for foreign investment as much as $30-50 billion per annum.

“In order to achieve the goal of 8-percent economic growth (which Iran has set for itself), as much as $30-50 billion of foreign investment is required in addition to actualizing the entire domestic potential.” 

The president hinted at the link between a resistant, endogenous economy and more engagement with the international community, not seeing the two at loggerheads.

“Resistance economy is endogenous and exogenous at the same time, the one which is intrinsically generative and productive with an outward look and tendency,” he noted.

Referring to the need to work out an investment, market, and technology blueprint for the country, Rouhani stated, “Together, the Majlis and government should depict an investment, market, and technology roadmap… as without it desired economic growth cannot be achieved.” 

The Rouhani administration has managed to rein in unbridled inflation rates, lowering it from a 40-percent high to a low of 10 percent, however, at a stagnation price.

The incumbent government hopes to grease the wheels of economy now that Tehran is unshackling from crippling Western-led sanctions after it struck a pact with global powers last July.

The Rouhani cabinet further expects a more cooperative and harmonious parliament which grants the government more leeway to focus on economic reforms. 

AK/PA

 

 

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