Rouhani’s ministerial picks win confidence vote in Majlis 

November 1, 2016 - 21:23

TEHRAN – Nearly two weeks after a cabinet reshuffle, President Hassan Rouhani’s proposed nominees for sports, education, and culture ministries won confidence votes in the 290-seat Majlis (parliament) on Tuesday. 

Rouhani had proposed Reza Salehi Amiri, Fakhroddin Ahmadi Danesh Ashtiani, and Massoud Soltanifar as ministers of culture and Islamic guidance, education, and sports and youth, respectively. 

The candidates needed to receive at least one half plus one of the votes cast to fill the ministerial vacancies. 

Reza Salehi Amiri got 180 “yes” votes while 89 voted against him and six legislators abstained. 

With the confidence vote, Salehi Amiri will replace Ali Jannati who resigned two weeks ago. 

Prior to being endorsed as minister, Salehi Amiri served as deputy culture minister. 

He had previously served as deputy intelligence minister for strategic studies under the reformist government. 

“Mr. Salehi Amiri is a sociologist, and cultural celebrity. I have worked with him for at least 13-14 years,” President Rouhani said while defending him in the parliament. 

It remains to be seen how Salehi Amiri will address challenges such as the concert row in the country which caused, people familiar with the issue say, Jannati to step down. 

Fakhroddin Ahmadi Danesh Ashtiani, the president’s nominee for the education minister, also secured 157 “yes” votes, with 111 rebelled against him and six abstained. 

Ahmadi Danesh Ashtiani, a graduate of the Imperial College London, is a faculty member at Khaje Nasir Toosi University of Technology. 

Ashtiani will replace Ali Asghar Fani who was grappling with numerous challenges such as teachers’ wages. 

“The Education Ministry requires a leader who can bring about a positive change for teachers…” Rouhani said of Ashtiani. “He is familiar with educational systems of many countries.”

Prior to appearing before the parliament, he had underscored that addressing a troubled teacher fund affiliated with the ministry would be a priority. 
The fund’s managerial board are being investigated for an embezzlement worth millions of dollars.   

Also, Massoud Soltanifar, as the president’s pick for the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs, secured the highest number of votes among the three proposed ministers. He won 193 votes in favor, 72 against, and nine abstentions.  

Soltanifar was the head of the tourism and heritage organization.


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