Larijani dashes reformists’ hope for Majlis speaker

May 30, 2016

TEHRAN – Principlist Ali Larijani was elected interim speaker of the new Iranian Majlis (parliament), dashing reformists’ hopes to take the helm of the influential legislature.

Larijani, already holding the post for the last eight years, won with 173 votes in duel with Mohammad Reza Aref backed only by 103 MPs.
Out of a total 281, five voted for neither.
Masoud Pezeshkian, a reformist MP from Tabriz, was also elected as first deputy speaker, winning 154 votes. Principlist Mohammad Deqhani, also secured second deputy speaker by garnering 136 votes.
While Larijani was representing the principlist faction, Aref had been fielded by the Hope bloc, which consists predominantly of reformists. 
According to the parliamentary regulations pamphlet, the interim presiding body will have the gavel until two-third of MPs’ credentials are approved, as required by the constitution.
Following the approval, MPs will cast their votes to decide the permanent presiding board for a one-year term.
Results for the interim term come as a blow to reformists who were holding caucuses before the Majlis ushered in, hoping for taking the seat.
Whatsoever the parliamentary make-up, Iranians will expect a change of tack and this has been mainly influenced by the performance of the previous 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.
The economic agenda with a resistance economy orientation was a key theme in the statements issued by the Supreme Leader and the president, both delivered on the occasion.

 Interim speaker says resistance economy high on agenda

In his first address to MPs, the interim speaker drew their attention to the economic challenges the country is confronted with, saying, “The country is facing serious economic challenges which can be dealt with via convergence and use of scientific approach.”

Elsewhere, in his remarks, Larijani hinted at issues related to the country’s foreign policy, highlighting that Iran is not a “separate island” on the Earth.

“We are not a separate island in the international arena and as underscored by the Supreme Leader, we will keep relations with all countries, which entails accurate diplomacy.”
Larijani also offered gratitude to Aref, who also run for the interim post, hailing him as an “old friend” and “one of good figures of the country.”
Also on Sunday Aref said a focus on resistance economy will be the “most important priority” for the new parliament.
According to IRNA, Aref said attention to knowledge-based economy is a necessity to improve the performance of the national economy.
The share of knowledge-based economy in the gross domestic product (GDP) should reach 50 percent, he suggested.


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