Suggestions Pour In From Left, Right, Center As Raisi Forms Cabinet
While President-Elect Ebrahim Raisi is said to be working hard to form his cabinet, political activists on both ends of Iran's political spectrum have been offering him suggestions about the next administration of the Islamic Republic.
Hardline activist Abbas Amirifar, who was close to former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, particularly during his first term of office (2005 – 2009), suggested in an interview with the Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA) that Raisi should not appoint current lawmakers as his ministers.
The Islamic Republic's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has also said lawmakers better remain in the Majles and not join the administration as ministers.
Amirifar who is close to ultraconservative Paydari Party said Raisi will have 10 to 12 young ministers in his cabinet. This may include former IRGC Khatam 0l-Anbia Headquarters Chief Saeed Mohammad, who wanted to run for president but was disqualified by the Guardian Council.
On the other hand, reformist politician Mahmoud Mirlohi, a member of the Tehran City Council, said in an interview with ILNA that "although Raisi has said he is an independent politician, he enjoyed the backing of conservative groups during his presidential campaign." But Mirlohi advised, "The best he can do is to work with a team of politicians composed of the members of the two leading factions," meaning reformists and conservatives.
What is important, said Mirlohi, is that Raisi should not ignore millions of people who voted for Rouhani in 2017, who still nurse the same demands they had four years ago.
Rouhani was elected with strong support by urban voters who expected more social freedoms and an opening to the world to improve the economy. Most stayed away from ballot boxes in the June 18 election.
However, Morlohi said it is clear that Raisi will use some of Ahmadinejad's former officials in his cabinet. This comes while, Raisi needs economists who can control high inflation and to put the economy back in order, he said, adding, "We do not want to return to the Ahmadinejad period when his aide Saeed Jalili issued statements rather than solve problems."
Meanwhile, in an interview with Khabar Online website, the spokesman for the centrist proreform Executives of Construction Party, Hossein Marashi, said Raisi should take the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal and the lifting of sanctions seriously.
Marashi also emphasized that Raisi needs a strong economist at the helm, but "With all due respect, I do not suggest that he should work with former Planning and Budget Organization Chief Farhad Rahbar as he is a leftist economist, and his ideas cannot help the country in the current situation." Raisi has appointed Rahbar as the head of his transitional economic planning team.
Marashi warned that Raisi should not take the lead in economic planning for his government as that would be the same mistake Rouhani made by making all the economic decisions without being an expert in economics.
He said: "We cannot run the country by simply maintaining trade ties with Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan and Venezuela. The Iranian economy cannot tolerate any further pressures." He added that if Iran is going to develop, it will need foreign investment although this will take time to materialize.
Speaking about internal political prospects during Raisi’s presidency, Marashi dismissed expectation of full unity between conservatives controlling all three branches of government. "There is a wide gap between Majles Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf and Raisi and the Islamic Republic's past experience is full of divides and splits even at times when the three bodies of the government acted in unity."
"If Raisi wants to run the country with moderate policies the hardliners will be annoyed and if he aligns his policies with hardliners' ideas the country will land in trouble,” Marashi said.