Iran Parliament votes to keep Akhoundi minister of roads
Iran’s Parliament (Majlis) has voted to keep Abbas Akhoundi the country’s roads and urban development minister after an impeachment session.
The Tuesday impeachment session, which was chaired by Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, ended when 175 MPs, out of a total of 252 attending parliamentarians, voted against the impeachment of Akhoundi.
A total of 72 MPs voted in favor of impeachment and five abstained from voting.
During the session, Akhoundi answered the questions of some lawmakers about what they viewed as his failure to implement the promised plans for urban development, and resolve the complexities falling within his sphere of authority.
In May, 24 lawmakers signed and forwarded a motion to the Presiding Board of the Parliament to impeach the minister.
Since then, 11 of the MPs had withdrawn their signatures, citing satisfaction with the explanations provided by Akhoundi at the legislature’s Development Commission.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani named Akhoundi to the parliament as the candidate for the position in summer 2013. He was then approved by the legislature for the office with 159 favorable votes, 107 against and 18 abstentions.
Akhoundi holds a PhD in Political Economy, which he obtained from Royal Holloway, University of London in 2006. He served as the minister of housing and urban development under former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani from 1993 to 1997.
Akhoundi was the third minister to face impeachment since 2013, when the Rouhani administration assumed office.
In June, the MPs impeached Iran’s Minister of Education Ali-Asghar Fani, who was reinstated after securing a vote of confidence from the lawmakers. However, Iranian Minister of Science, Research and Technology Reza Faraji-Dana failed to secure a vote of confidence, and was unseated following a similar impeachment session back in August 2014.
Under the Iranian Constitution, lawmakers can impeach a minister when they deem it necessary. An impeachment motion can be submitted when it has at least 10 signatures.
The minister must then appear before the parliament within 10 days of the motion’s submission to answer the questions raised by legislators, give explanation on his performance and seek a vote of confidence.