Iranian Parliament, Majles, has decided to devote an extra day to reviewing the ministers proposed by President Ebrahim Raisi and their plans, as debates on the qualifications of some ministers are taking longer than expected.
The Majles announced on Monday that the vote of confidence in Raisi’s cabinet will be cast on Wednesday instead of Tuesday as previously announced. However, past and current statements by some of the nominees caught the public’s attention.
Meanwhile, Raisi announced on his administration’s Instagram page that his meeting with Rouhani’s outgoing cabinet on Sunday would be the last and that his own ministers would attend his next cabinet meeting.
Raisi also announced an important decision that will affect many Iranians, not necessarily a positive one. The new president put an end to the decades-long five-day-week system in Iran by declaring Thursday a working day and emphasizing that the Iranians will be able to cope with Shahrivar from the first of the Iranian month. only on Friday will have a shorter weekend, that is 23.08.
Meanwhile, some debates over Raisi’s ministers have proven to be more than the usual postmarking. The controversies particularly concern the comments made by the proposed Minister of Education Baghgoli and Minister of Labor Hojjat Abdolmaleki.
With several lawmakers pointing out that Baghgoli’s qualifications and experience are below ministerial levels, the candidate made a few slip-ups in his speech on Sunday, some of which are difficult to translate into any language other than Farsi. The most prominent one that was quickly picked up by social and traditional media was his remarks on “The mothers of most Iranian students are women”.
The proposed Labor Minister Hojjat Abdolmaleki, who was also heavily criticized by the legislature for his references, said during his speech: “If you are looking for a good Labor Minister all over Iran, you cannot find a better one than me.” And when the legislature declined, Abdolmaleki said to the President: “If you don’t want me, the next candidate for the office will still be presented by me.”
Abdolmaleki is best known for his comments on Iranian live television in March about reverse engineering a Lamborghini car to create wealth for the country. Social media users joked about the proposed minister’s lack of awareness, to say the least. When told that some Lamborghini parts were difficult to make in Iran, he said Iranian entrepreneurs could buy the engine from abroad and install it in the bodywork they make in Iran.
He said Iranian students had made two of these Lamborghini cars, but the police weren’t giving them license plates so they could show them off on the streets. Although the Lamborghinis cost 20 billion Iranian rials each, Abdolmaleki claimed, the students have about 1,000 customers waiting for them.
The third proposed minister, whose qualifications and plans sparked controversy in the Majles, was Bahram Einollahi, who was nominated by Raisi for the post of Minister of Health. Social media users questioned his academic background and career as the head of the IRGC’s medical center and beat him up for promising at the Majles to advocate traditional “Islamic” medicine.
Critics and doctors speaking to Iran International TV said that even if Avicenna were alive today, he would not have proposed his own traditional “Islamic” medicines for today’s patients. On social media, people are angry because the proposed minister had no plan to step up vaccination efforts in a country where over 600 COVID-19 patients have died in the past few days.
Criticism of the proposed intelligence minister Esmail Khatib by the ultra-conservative Paydari party was masterfully thwarted by Majles spokesman Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, who said Khatib had Khamenei’s blessing as the former security chief of his office, which extends to all major ministers. That made the three proposed Education, Labor and Health Ministers the most likely candidates who may not win Parliament’s vote of confidence on Wednesday.