IranMiddle East

Iran MPs begin voting on cabinet

Lawmakers in the Iranian parliament have begun casting their votes on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s proposed 21-member cabinet.

MPs are casting their votes in 21 ballot boxes, each representing a cabinet nominee.

Cabinet debates at the parliament ended earlier Thursday, with the remaining minister-designates speaking before the beginning of the voting process.

The two remaining candidates, proposed ministers for oil and energy, Masoud Mirkazemi and Mohammad Aliabadi defended their plans on the fifth day of debates.

Other than the two last candidates, 19 other nominees, who were also picked by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for ministerial posts, have defended their plans for the next-four years.

The potential ministers have one by one addressed the Majlis (parliament) since Sunday, the start of the cabinet debates. Lawmakers have also spoken in support or against the proposed ministers.

Each nominee needs to gain the approval of more than half of the representatives to win the parliament’s vote of confidence and officially take office.

Nearly two-third of Ahmadinejad’s desired cabinet line-up is made up of new faces. Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki is one of the incumbents who have been chosen for another term.

For the first time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, three women are also among the ministerial candidates.

The voting process, which will commence in a few hours, will determine the fate of the proposed ministers.

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