Iran’s Supreme Leader announced yesterday that the role of the presidency in the Islamic Republic political system could possibly be eliminated.
The Mehr News Agency reported on Sunday that in a speech in Kermanshah, Ayatollah Khamenei said: “In the current situation, the political system of the country is presidential, and the president is directly elected by the people, which is a fine and effective method. However, if in a possible distant future, if they feel that the parliamentary system can better choose the executive officials, there is no problem in changing the current format.”
The idea of eliminating the post of president was first suggested in September by Hamidreza Katouzian, an Iranian MP.
Katouzian said: “Recently, political experts have been discussing ideas that fact that since the country is blessed with the attention of the Velayat Faqih [expert clerical leadership] and the leader of the Revolution, there is no need for a president in this country.”
He claimed that such a system would be more effective because executive officials would answer directly to Parliament. He added that a prime minister could be elected by Parliament to be the top executive official.
For the first 11 years of the Islamic Republic, the top executive position was held by the prime minister. In 1990 the constitution was altered to eliminate the prime minister’s role and to create the more symbolic role of president, which became the top executive position and the head of cabinet.
Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Mohammad Khatami and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are the three people that have held the role of president since then.
In September, the Iranian daily Ebtekar wrote: “The developments during Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s presidency that saw grave challenges between the president, Parliament and the judiciary and other arms of the political system have led some lawmakers to consider eliminating the role of president.”
The Islamic Republic’s conservative elite accuses Ahmadinejad of violating legislation approved by Parliament. Ali Motahari resigned his seat in Parliament to protest Parliament’s refusal to call the president for questioning over his alleged violations.