Monday, October 25, 2004

Mellat Electronic Newspaper: Sohbani to Lead Majlis Budgeting Committee

Mellat Electronic Newspaper: "Sohbani to Lead Majlis Budgeting Committee

TEHRAN - The Majlis Presiding Board elections took place on Tuesday.
Among the interesting appointments was the election of Hassan Sobhani as Chairman of the Planning and Budget Commission. Former presidential candidate (in 2001) Ahmad Tavakoli was thought to be Sobhani's main rival for the position.
Sobhani's selection is significant. The Seventh Majlis is trying to send a message to the Expediency Council (EC) and the Guardian Council (GC) that it is not looking for confrontation, analysts told IRAN NEWS.
If Tavakoli had been chosen, the Fourth Economic Development Plan may have ended up in the EC for arbitration and there may well have been disagreements between Tavakoli and the EC chief Hashemi Rafsanjani.
Tavakoli has been a harsh critic of Rafsanjani's economic policy dating back to the 1980s. Tavakoli who hold a Ph.D. in economic from Nothingham University in the UK had opposed Rafsanjani's economic strategy on many occasions.
Some experts even opine that one of the reasons Rafsanjani's vote tally during his reelection in 1993 was lower than anticipated was due to Tavakoli's criticisms on his economic policy.
Observers speculate that the decision-makers in the Seventh Majlis were trying to avoid a potential ideological and personality clash when choosing Sobhani.
It is notable that Sobhani himself is an economist with a Ph.D. who certainly may have deep philosophical and ideological beliefs. However, those who are familiar with him describe him as a non-confrontational person.
What's more, pundits who watch the Majlis closely say that not even one of the hardline conservatives managed to secure a commission chairmanship. Despite the predictions and expectations, the Seventh Majlis is - so far - pursuing a moderation and middle-of-the-road tactic.
The big question is whether this trend will continue in the coming months and leading up to the next presidential election in June 2005?"

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