Different from Territorial Divisions
Javad Naserian, the deputy of Vice - presidency for Management and Human Capital Department recently announced that the government is keen on its decision to divide the country into five administrative regions, while specifying the provinces of each regional group as well. But more than sixty members of the Parliament reacted quickly and issued a written notice to stop the act, claiming that ‘the division of the country lacks legal credibility and will lead to inevitable social consequences as a result of neglecting political, social and economic considerations.
Javad Naserian, the deputy of Vice-presidency for Management and Human Capital Department recently announced that the government is keen on its decision to divide the country into five administrative regions, while specifying the provinces of each regional group as well. But more than sixty members of the Parliament reacted quickly and issued a written notice to stop the act, claiming that 'the division of the country lacks legal credibility and will lead to inevitable social consequences as a result of neglecting political, social and economic considerations.' The members' objections spearheaded by Deputy Speaker of the Parliament forced the Interior Minister to deny the subject of administrative divisions. Nevertheless, the opposing members didn't forget Rahmani Fazli's emphasis on the execution of the division plan in several different occasions in the past, as in "Councils Management and Local Management Conference" he had stressed: "Cultural, social,
economic and security indicators are taken into considerations in the new division system. We're examining whether we can establish new administrative divisions under the current provincial format. This is very much a possibility, as the new system will enable us to transfer a part of the government's authorities to the regions."
Mohammad Javad Kolivand, the Vice President of the Parliament's Councils Commission underlined that the sought-after regional grouping plan doesn't translate into a new nationwide division at all. Read his interview as follows.
What is the truth behind the division of the country into five major regions? The members of the parliament express their disapproval and the Interior Minister demurs, but parliamentary members keep up the pressure on the government. Is the subject of administrative divisions any close to reality?
The subject has never been discussed in councils commission and I strongly stress that no decision is made in this regard as of yet. The basis of the regional division is mistaken for a new national division plan. The Iranian Police and Human Resource Development Deputy also explained that officials of neighboring provinces are meant to sit down only to exchange experiences without making any decisions regarding new divisions. The aim of these meetings is just and only further collaboration. Quite naturally, adjacent provinces share similar hurdles and such meetings are excellent opportunities to explore difficulties in detail. All in all, the convergence of provinces is an absolutely positive step forward.
So you're indicating that no decision has been made on the regional division.
In order to divide the country into five administrative regions, the government must first propose a bill to the parliament and we have yet to see it materialize. Once again, I insist that the plan is not a means of establishing new regional format in the country, but merely a proposition by Interior Ministry for more convergence and exchange of ideas among contiguous provinces. Interior Minister himself clearly declared that nobody seeks a change of formation in the country's administrative division. Rahmani Fazli has frequently stressed that the controversial division plan is not going to change the present formation of provinces, and that economic, cultural, social and security indicators are better thought-out in the new division plan.
Elaborate on the legal aspect of the new division plan. There were criticisms against the formulation of the previous division plan.
The proposed administrative divisions plan has a clear formula. Bear in mind that a number of regions and provinces haven't improved accordingly. The government and the Interior Minister are to believe that the current administrative division of the country only brings about inconsistency and irregularity in administrative departments and economic sectors and inevitably increases the number of government employees. Consequently, the new Iranian administration and specifically Mr. Rahmani Fazli proposed a draft to the Cabinet so that any change of formation such as township to county, county to city, and city to province follows a clear-cut formula.
Do you assume that the Interior Minister's decision on clinging on to a clear formula is a step forward? Do you find the new formulation appropriate compared to the previous formulation?
Yes. I suppose they have put an effective proposition on the table. The formulated view means that for the division of provinces as well as any smaller administrative division in the country, various factors such as population, level of development and area of the region must be taken into account, so that in case the bill is passed in the Parliament, officials and decision-makers be able to refer to the division law as a reliable reference for year to come. The formulation proposed by Mr. Rahmani Fazli has the potential to bring forth more infrastructure reforms that expected in near future.
What is the status of the bill? Is it going to have any progress any time soon?
The bill must first be passed in the Parliament in order to become a law. Councils and Interior Affairs Commission of the Parliament will examine the bill, once it's officially proposed to the Parliament.
The critics of the previous division plan claimed that it was based on personal interests and preferences of a minority group rather than maintaining a comprehensive point of view.
There's no denying that the previous plan had its shortcomings, but formulated view has substituted the individualistic approach of the past.
The Interior Ministry has stressed on clarity and credibility of the new division plan as well, but there are still those against the idea.
There's nothing to worry about. The Interior Ministry is after provincial divisions and doesn't pursue any countrywide infrastructure reform as of yet. Mr. Rahmani Fazli's deputy has rightly emphasized that the decision should not be misunderstood, since the Interior Ministry doesn't seek to manipulate territorial divisions of the country. National territorial divisions rule is passed by the government and has its specific rules and regulations.
That's very true. In spite of that, one of the members of the Parliament warned that the new division plan may cause local tension.
What tension are they talking about? I'm pretty confident that nothing will happen.
Let's put the new division plan aside and discuss the issues of the current provincial division found by Councils' Commission.
The country is already divided into 31 provinces. My assumption is that the current division is acceptable and one that we can go on with, but the real problem is the districts from which the members of the Parliament represent themselves. The issue lies in the proportion of the number of Parliament members and the number districts which the members represent.
What is the reformation based on?
Article 64 of the constitution explores the representing districts and the requirements of candidates. Representing districts must be chosen according to population, extent, geographical position, political situation, economic growth and unemployment rate.