Sunday, December 18, 2005

Some Governors are also Deputy Cabinet Ministers

Hamed Irani, Rooz Online:
While the Majlis (Iran’s Parliament) has a law that bans members of City Councils to hold government posts, there are numerous City Council executives who hold second posts inside the government. The law is based on possible conflict of interest that individuals holding such posts will be facing.

Majlis’s direct and explicit ban on holding two posts by City Council members and its executive officials, has met resistance by powerful individuals. Zaribafan for example has fought and succeeded to maintain his Tehran City Council seat, while also being a cabinet secretary. READ MORE

Conservative media analysts believe that such resistance is the result of different interpretations of the term “government by the new government team. They contend that one of the positions is appointed while the other elected through voting, so these are not “government” posts. Others believe that the behaviour of some members of Ahmadinejad’s administration is in fact an indication of the degree of their disrespect for the law, which is also apparent in other spheres.

For example the fact that the new Interior Minister, Mostafa Pourmohammadi appointed Shaeri as his deputy for agricultural affairs just a few days after Shaeri had been appointed the Governor of Golestan province, indicates the disregard that a cabinet minister has for the conflict of interest laws. President Ahmadinejad who can intervene at such high level cabinet appointments did not, indicating that he too has no respect for laws passed by the Majlis. When such violations are ignored, disregard for the laws continues. After the first appointment, Pourmohammadi appointed his deputy for labour and social affairs as a governor of another province.

The above examples however are for situations in which both posts are appointments, so there is no mis-interpretation of one being elected and the other appointed. Legal experts argue that this is not a case of differing interpretation but blatant disregard for laws.

It is ironic that while president Ahmadinejad has made public relations efforts to portray his cabinet as law abiding, the above examples, among other, do not support his claims.