A parliamentarian censured the government's proposal to allocate budget for promoting political parties, saying it increases parties' dependence on governments and could prevent them from fulfilling their real tasks properly.
"Generally, I'm against giving parties financial aid, as they ought to be civil groups independent of the administration," said Mahmoud Sadeqi, a well-known reformist lawmaker, in a recent interview with ICANA.
The administration of President Hassan Rouhani has long advocated measures to increase the role of parties in the Iranian politics, including providing subsidies to factions and holding partisan elections.
In its draft budget bill for the next fiscal year (March 2018-19), which was submitted to the parliament by Rouhani on Dec. 17, the government has included an article to pay subsidies to active parties to help them increase their activities.
Sadeqi said he believes successful parties stand on their own feet and obtain funding from members who are willing to pay money for promoting their shared values.
"Parties are better to be established if founders are able to attract enough supporters to their ideas and finance their activities independently," he said.
Moreover, the lawmaker said parties' reliance on governments could lead authorities to adopt a selective and non-objective approach in allocating the budget, in order to strengthen parties toeing their line and weaken those against their policies. The funds are planned to be distributed through the House of Parties, which resumed work in 2015 after a hiatus of several years.
Backers of the government's proposal argue it is the administration's duty to support political activities, just like its support for cultural and social activities.
They say the government's assistance for political factions to help them figure prominently on the political scene will maximize collective wisdom, thus it helps the government to makes better decisions.
Analysts believe the lack of a rigid party structure is to blame for many deficiencies in the Iranian governments' performance, as administrations are not accountable to the parties for their records.