Ahmadinejad facing objections to his new cabinet
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose disputed re-election plunged the nation into its worst crisis since the Islamic revolution, unveils his cabinet today facing a dogged opposition and challenges from within his own hardline support base.
Ahmadinejad already announced six names on Sunday and said he planned to have at least three women ministers in his 21-member government, which would be a first in the 30-year existence of the Islamic republic.
But some of his proposed appointments have already run into objections from MPs, who have complained that Ahmadinejad needs to consult them more and ensure his ministers have the right experience and credentials.
"From the six people named, we can assume the cabinet will not have the calibre required for an efficient government and this is not a good sign," influential conservative MP Ahmad Tavakoli was quoted as saying by the ISNA news agency.
"In this list there are people who have never recorded a day of executive work," he charged.
Ahmadinejad's position has already been shaken by the massive opposition protests over his June re-election and a dispute with some hardliners over his political choices which has exposed rifts among the ruling elite.
During his first tenure, he also came under fire for frequently reshuffling the cabinet, sacking 10 ministers and two central bank chiefs and retaining inexperienced ministers.
His new four-year term is also expected to see Iran remain on a collision course with the West, particularly over its nuclear drive and its crackdown against the opposition in the post-election tumult.
Among the top jobs, Ahmadinejad said he will name Heydar Moslehi, a former representative of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in the volunteer Basij militia, as intelligence minister.
Manouchehr Mottaki is expected to stay at the foreign ministry, the Mehr news agency reported, quoting "unnamed informed sources."
Interior Minister Sadeq Mahsouli, a former Revolutionary Guard commander, will move to the defence minister in a swap with Mostafa Mohammad Najjar, it said.
Ahmadinejad on Sunday said the main criteria for his new team were "morality and commitment, efficiency as well as convergence and spirit of cooperation."
He has pledged that his new government will work to improve the economy, promote social justice and crack down on corruption.
His line-up will be put to a confidence vote before the 290-member parliament on August 30, but it may not be smooth sailing.
Among the women, his choice of Fatemeh Ajorlou for welfare and social security is likely to stir controversy because of her alleged support for Abbas Palizdar, who was jailed for accusing several senior clerics, including former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, and their children of corruption.