Left Menu
Development News Edition

Iran's newly elected parliament convenes despite pandemic

PTI | Tehran | Updated: 27-05-2020 14:32 IST | Created: 27-05-2020 14:32 IST
Iran's newly elected parliament convenes despite pandemic

Iran's newly elected parliament convened on Wednesday, dominated by conservative lawmakers and under strict social distancing regulations, as the country struggles to curb the spread of the coronavirus that has hit the nation hard. Iranian state TV said all 268 lawmakers who were in attendance had tested negative for the virus. The lawmakers were sworn in after many of them arrived for the opening ceremony wearing face masks and observing social distancing regulations. Temperatures were taken before they entered the parliament building.

Iran is grappling with the deadliest outbreak in the Middle East, with more than 7,500 fatalities out of over 139,500 confirmed cases. Turkey has the region's largest outbreak, with 156,800 confirmed cases and more than 4,300 deaths. The Iranian parliamentary election in February saw a turnout of 42.57% — the lowest since 1979 Islamic Revolution and a sign of widespread dissatisfaction and the state of the economy amid intense pressure from the United States after President Donald Trump pulled the US out of Iran's nuclear with world powers and reimposed sanctions on the country.

At Wednesday's opening session, Iranian lawmakers chose a temporary speaker, based on age seniority, and listened to a message from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, read by an aid. President Hassan Rouhani addressed the lawmakers, urging them to cooperate with his administration so that together Iranians can better “confront sanctions and the disease" in this “very difficult year.” A permanent parliament speaker will be chosen next week, for a one-year term. Because of the pandemic, a traditional visit by the newly elected lawmakers to the shrine of the founder of Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, was postponed. After keeping its many shrines across the country, which are typically frequented by scores of visitors, open in the beginning of the outbreak, Iran later imposed lockdown measures, barring visitors from going inside the shrines.

Iran's newly elected house is dominated by 220 conservative lawmakers, including more than 50 who are close allies of former hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. There are 38 independent lawmakers and 18 pro-reform and moderates, down from 136 in the previous parliament. In the vote in February, 278 parliament seats of the total of 290 seats were decided. Two elected lawmakers later died, including one from COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. Eight newly elected lawmakers were absent from Wednesday's session; no explanation was given.

The remaining 14 seats are to be decided in a by-election in 2021. More than 160 of the current lawmakers have had no previous parliamentary experience. There are 16 women lawmakers, one less than in the previous house. Iran's parliament does not have the power to dictate major policies, but it does debate the annual budget and the possible impeachment of ministers. Power in Iran ultimately rests with Khamenei, who has final say on all key matters.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death..


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Why COVID-19 is unstoppable in USA despite it being ranked at the top of GHS Index?

Several worst-hit countries such as Italy, France, Spain, the UK, Canada, and Russia have peaked COVID-19 cases in April. Almost all of them have gradually flattened the curve. However, the USA is setting new daily records of infections tha...

COVID-19 seems cooking biggest ever global scam

The increasing number of corruption cases on COVID-19 funds from throughout the world and involvement of high profile persons indicate that the countries cant ignore corruption in their pandemic response programs. This has generated the nee...

Health Management Information Systems lack holistic, integrated, and pandemic resilient character

Being a part of the United Nations system, the World Health Organization WHO deserves its share of rebuke for its alleged failure issue COVID-19 health emergency alerts on appropriate time. However, the pandemic has also exposed loopholes i...

Pride in the time of coronavirus: a welcome move online?

This year is different in many ways not least as celebrations are also taking place against the dramatic backdrop of a global health crisis and a resurgence in grassroots activism following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. ...

Videos

Latest News

UAPA case: Delhi HC dismisses Sharjeel Imam's plea against extension of time to file charge sheet

The Delhi High Court on Friday dismissed a petition filed by JNU student Sharjeel Imam challenging a trial court order that granted more time to the investigation agencies to file charge sheet in a UAPA case against him. Imam, in his plea, ...

Premier of South Africa's Gauteng province tests positive for COVID-19

The premier of Gauteng, South Africas most populous province, said on Friday he had tested positive for COVID-19, as new confirmed infections in the country hit a record high.Provincial leader David Makhura revealed his infection a day afte...

NIT develops multipurpose sanitising device to disinfect packed food items, currency

A timer-fitted sanitizing device, which uses UV radiation to kill microbial pathogens, has been developed by the Dr. B R Ambedkar National Institute of Technology in Jalandhar to disinfect a variety of articles including packed food and cur...

CICSE board not to publish merit list for class 10, 12 exams this year in view of exceptional circumstances: Secretary Gerry Arathoon.

CICSE board not to publish merit list for class 10, 12 exams this year in view of exceptional circumstances Secretary Gerry Arathoon....

Give Feedback