Iranian lawmakers on Thursday began casting their votes on embattled President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s proposed new 21-member cabinet after five days of heated debate.
MPs stood in queues and casting their votes in 21 separate ballot boxes, each representing a cabinet nominee.
Ahmadinejad’s nominees to be confirmed have each in turn to secure the support of more than 50 per cent of sitting MPs during the confidence vote.
Ahead of the vote, the embattled president appealed to parliament to approve his nominees, saying this would send a “punch” to the Islamic republic’s enemies.
Hailing the five-day debate as “free and open,” he said this proved that “real democracy exists in Iran.”
“Some wanted to weaken the majlis (parliament) and government. But the majlis and the government will stand hand in hand and punch the enemy in its face. We are all one family, although we are independent branches of the system,” he said.
Several nominees have faced stiff opposition from conservative lawmakers.
Three women candidates are included among several newcomers in the proposed cabinet, the first time in Islamic republic’s 30-year history.