Lawmakers' Outlook On Raisi's Relations With Parliament
More than 220 of the 290 lawmakers of the Iranian Parliament (Majles) supported Ebrahim Raisi's candidacy in the June 2021 presidential election. This near-majority support has cast a shadow of doubt on the prospects of the parliament's supervision when President-elect Raisi (Raeesi) takes office in a few weeks' time.
On several occasions since the election, Raisi has characterized himself as an independent politician. However, most of those who openly supported him during the election hailed from the conservative camp.
The officially declared, overwhelming support for Raisi in the parliament signals a smooth presidency for Iran's new president. But some current and former members of the parliament have expressed doubts about the parliament's ability to voice the people's demands to the president whose candidacy it wholeheartedly supported.
The nation is going to know how much of the support lent to Raisi during the election will endure, at least during his first year in office, when he presents his cabinet members to the parliament and seeks its endorsement for individual cabinet ministers.
During the past few weeks, there have been speculations about various political parties' expectations of Raisi to include their members in his list of cabinet ministers. The extent of the parliament's continued support for Raisi is likely to depend on the make-up of his cabinet.
Former conservative lawmaker Javad Arianmanesh told Khabar Online website on Wednesday, July 21, that the extraordinary support by the Majles contradicts its independence and compromises its supervisory role in the coming years.
Lawmaker Mohammad-Ali Pourmokhtar, however, was quoted by Khabar Online as saying that despite the support that has been officially announced, differences are going to emerge between the president and the Majles, although the interaction between the two could be better than in previous terms.
Pourmokhtar added that differences between the parliament and presidency are likely to emerge if the parliament insists on its supervisory power and wishes to use its power to investigate government bodies. Pourmokhtar mentioned the disputes between the conservative Majles and the administration of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as an example of inconsistencies between a like-minded parliament and administration in the past.
Former Conservative lawmaker Mohammad-Taqi Rahbar was quoted by Khabar Online as saying that there will be no difference of opinions between the "revolutionary" Majles and Raisi. "I know the majority of the Majles will be in accord with Raisi and tension between them is not likely. The two will discuss problems in a positive way if they arise."
According to Khabar Online, former reformist lawmaker Mohsen Rohami noted that Raisi is not likely to confront any serious challenges at the Majles because as a result of extensive disqualifications there are very few pro-reform lawmakers in the Majles now to challenge him. According to Rohami, the Majles is going to approve all Raisi's proposed ministers.
Another former reformist lawmaker, Jalal Mirzai, however, opined that although Raisi is not likely to confront any serious opposition by the Majles, differences between the administration and parliament are likely to occur later when lawmakers begin to question Raisi's policies. Former lawmaker Mehdi Sheikh also shared the same view, adding that differences between the president and the parliament are likely to emerge as soon as lawmakers and political parties begin to demand a share of Raisi's power.
Former hardline lawmaker Mohsen Kouhkan, according to Khabar Online, underlined that legislative, executive and judiciary bodies are independent of each other. "But the parliament can investigate the matter if someone complains about the president's behavior, for instance. Such cases are rare and usually occur when the president breaks the law."
Without naming any president, Kouhkan added: "These problems usually occur when the president is arrogant or doesn't know the law. Mr. Raisi is a modest person and as someone who has overseen the Judiciary, he is aware of the country's laws. Therefore, he is not likely to be questioned by the parliament."