TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - President Rouhani has himself been particularly reticent about individual choices, sending the speculation mill at newspapers, periodicals, news websites, and the social media into overdrive less than two weeks before his new administration officially takes office.
Commentary, political and otherwise, has been mainly focusing on assessments of ministerial performances in an attempt to predict with various levels of certainty who will and will not be on the president’s list for a second term.
Rouhani, first elected Iran’s president in 2013, re-ran for office in the presidential election in May 2017, winning it and gaining a larger mandate than his first term. He will be sworn in for another four years as the country’s chief executive on August 5.
Within two weeks of his inauguration, the president will have to name his cabinet members, who will then face a vote of confidence at the Iranian Parliament (Majlis).
The Iranian media reports offered almost unanimous consensus on who has the highest chances of being trusted by the president for another term. The sure bets, according to the media, are cabinet incumbents First Vice-President Es’haq Jahangiri, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Minister of Petroleum Bijan Namdar-Zangeneh, Health Minister Hassan Qazizadeh Hashemi, Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan, and Minister of Culture Seyyed Reza Salehi Amiri.
So is Akbar Torkan, a senior adviser to President Rouhani and strong advocate of his policies, who is also secretary of the Supreme Council of Iran’s Free Trade, Industrial, and Special Economic Zones.
Administration spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht is also considered a highly likely choice, although he may be assigned a different post, possibly a ministerial one.
Running still high but not as high chances of continued presence are Communications Minister Mahmoud Va’ezi and Minister of Economy Ali Tayyebniya.
Va’ezi is speculated to have his portfolio changed, however.
A lady minister?
Meanwhile, there has been growing speculation and expectation that President Rouhani would pick a woman for a ministerial post. Women are already on the president’s cabinet, serving as vice-presidents and senior advisers but not as ministers.
Shahindokht Molaverdi, the current vice-president for women and family affairs, and Elham Aminzadeh, the sitting presidential adviser for legal affairs, among others, retain chances of being promoted to a ministerial status.