Khatami quits Expediency Council session after decision to raise its budget
Iran's President Mohammad Khatami and Parliament Speaker Mehdi Karroubi as well as a member of the parliament walked out of an Expediency Council session Saturday after the arbitrative body decided to more than double the supervisory Guardians Council's budget.
The Expediency Council, whose members are appointed by the country's spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, decided in its Saturday session to raise the Guardians Council's budget to more than 100 billion rials up from the 40.4 billion which the government had projected and the parliament recently approved for the next Iranian year, starting on March 21, 2003, IRNA reported.
The Guardians Council vets parliamentary bills to confirm whether they comply with the Islamic Sharia law as well as the Constitution.
The head of the budget and planning commission of the parliament, Majid Ansari, who represents Tehran in the Majlis, followed suit as Khatami and Karroubi quit the session in rage.
The Secretary of the Expediency Council, Mohsen Rezaei, said the Guardians Council wanted the budget for holding the next parliament elections in February 2004. "Two committees, comprising experts of the Expediency Council and the State Management and Planning Organization, decided that the council would face a 60-billion-rial budget deficit to hold the seventh parliamentary elections as well as for its peripheral expenses," he added.
"The government and Majlis believed in today's session that the issue had to be resolved by the government and that there was no need for the Expediency Council's approval," Rezaei conveyed. "Consequently, Mr. Khatami, Karroubi and Majid Ansari quit the session in protest but...the rest of the council members approved to raise the Guardians Council's budget by 60 billion rials for the year '82," the official said.
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)