Written by ASL19 researchers for RouhaniMeter
It has been ten days since Hassan Rouhani’s inauguration into the office of the President, and there have been few significant events for observers to measure the new government’s performance in pursuing Rouhani’s promises. What has been done includes the introduction of cabinet members to parliament for a vote of confidence; the appointment of two deputies; the continuation of the subsidy program; and the vice-president’s order to halt the ‘Mehr-Afarin Plan’ which was passed by the former administration.
Cabinet Members Introduced to Parliament for Vote of Confidence
Rouhani came under heavy criticism in Iran’s Media and the country’s political and civic circles after introducing his proposed cabinet.
Many women’s rights activists and liberal intellectuals were dissatisfied with the proposed cabinet for being an all-male one.
Iranian MP, Fatemeh Alia told Tasnim Website: ”There is potential for the presence of women in the new cabinet. In light of Mr.Rouhani’s promises there are certain expectations. We are looking forward to seeing women’s abilities being used in the new cabinet.”
The deputy head of the Presidential Centre for Women and Family Affairs during Ahmadinejad’s administration, Zahra Sajjadi also stated: “When a candidate promises certain things he is expected to fulfill them upon entering office. I personally don’t have a preference on the creation of a women’s ministry, but there is an expectation for Mr.Rouhani to keep his promise.”
Despite these criticisms, a review of Rouhani’s promises throughout his campaign days will illustrate there were no promises to appoint female ministers in the cabinet. Regarding the issue of women he had only touched on inequalities in general terms and the only concrete promises were “establishing the Ministry of Women” and “providing equal opportunities for men and women” in executive positions.
While Hassan Rouhani has not appointed women to positions as cabinet minister, there are still opportunities for him to position women as deputies of ministries, or the heads of organizations affiliated with the president’s office.
Vice-President for Legal Affairs
Although no female ministers were proposed to the parliament, the appointment of Elham Aminzadeh as Vice-President for Legal Affairs can be seen as a positive step towards the participation of women in the new cabinet. This decision can be seen as a validation of Rouhani’s sentiment stating, “there will be no gender discrimination in job opportunities in the future administration” and that “future governments will assure equality between men and women.”
The issue of subsidies was amongst the most talk about topics throughout the elections and Rouhani’s campaign. The president promised to continue and refine the subsidy reform plan without reducing the amounts currently being paid. On Rouhani’s fourth day in office and during the first cabinet meeting, it was officially decided that the plan would continue in its current form, with the intention to hold another session to refine and possibly amend the plan.
As such, one of Rouhani’s promises can be described as in progress, while we have to wait and see how the plan will be executed in the future.
The first Vice President
First Vice President, Eshaq Jahangiri, halted some decisions made by ex-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on 6th August. One of the halted places was the “Mehr Afarin” program which planned to employ over 500, 000.
The head of Iran’s Administrative Justice Court (AJC), Mohammad Javad Montazeri said that suspending decisions made by Ahmadinejad’s government by the current vice-president, is illegal (Tasnim news). However, in a message sent to the parliament, Chief Justice Sadegh Larijani announced that according to the law, the general assembly of the Administrative Justice Courts are the only authoritative body with the power to cancel legislation, while comments made by head of the AJC are solely his personal opinion, without the ability to rule out the vice-president’s decision. and it will not rule out VP’s decision.