Compromise in Iran Opens Door for Khatami to Take Office
Iran appeared Monday to have resolved a potential constitutional crisis preventing re-elected President Mohammad Khatami from forming his next government.
The Islamic state's top arbitration body, the Expediency Council, held an emergency three-and-a-half hour meeting to settle a dispute between reformist elected lawmakers and the conservative-dominated judiciary that caused Khatami's inauguration to be indefinitely postponed, said AFP, citing the official television station.
Although no decision was announced, the council made a compromise proposal and urged the official parliamentary ceremony take place as soon as possible.
The country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, later said he accepted the solution. Khatami's swearing-in had been set for Sunday.
The row erupted over the weekend when Parliament rejected nine of ten candidates put forward by the judiciary for the Guardian Council, a constitutional watchdog, which has consistently blocked Khatami's reform proposals.
Khameni on Saturday insisted that Khatami's swearing-in be postponed, arguing the Constitution required all 12 of its members to be present at the ceremony.
The Expediency Council ruled that only nine members of the constitutional watchdog had to witness the swearing-in, and said Parliament should settle the issue over the body's new members "as soon as possible" in two votes.
"We propose that at the next meeting of parliament, the candidates put forward by the judiciary (for the Guardian Council) be put to a vote by an absolute majority of deputies in the first round and a relative majority in the second round," it said.
It also said Khatami should form his government within 15 days of his investiture.
Khamenei's office issued a statement soon after saying he would abide by the council's compromise "in order that the investiture of the president may proceed as quickly as possible."
Khatami has faced ongoing struggles with the conservative judiciary branch, which has tried numerous pro-reform MPs on various charges, mostly related to the recent elections - Albawaba.com
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