Top Iranian Gov't Body to Hold Emergency Meeting on Inauguration Crisis
Iran’s Expediency Council, the top state body, will hold an emergency session Monday to resolve a crisis delaying President Mohammad Khatami's inauguration, said reports.
The country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, ordered the council to hold an extraordinary meeting to discuss the crisis. The council, controlled by Khamenei, has the final say on political disputes.
Khamenei sent the head of the council, former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a letter ordering the emergency meeting, according to CNN Online.
Khatami, Iran's resoundingly re-elected president, was to have been formally sworn-in on Sunday. But Khamenei postponed the ceremony on Saturday because of a constitutional crisis that pitted conservative leaders against the country's reform-minded Parliament.
In a letter sent to the speaker of Iran's Parliament late Saturday, Khamenei said the ceremony should be postponed until ambiguities in the Constitution -- specifically, the ground rules under which a person can be authorized as president -- can be ironed out.
"It is appropriate that the investiture ceremony in Parliament take place after the nomination of the members of the council," Khamenei said in a statement
Khamenei confirmed Khatami -- who won a landslide victory in the June 8 election -- as president for a second four-year term on Thursday. But that was only half of a two-part confirmation process, which also requires a civil confirmation -- the process that hit a snag Saturday.
According to Iran's Constitution, members of the watchdog Guardian Council and other officials, including members of parliament and the head of the judiciary, must attend the civil confirmation.
The Guardian Council consists of 12 members, six of whom are high clerics appointed by supreme leaders and another six who are lawyers nominated by the head of the judiciary branch. The council has a staggered election system so that not all of the seats come up for election at the same time.
Three seats on the Guardian Council were up for election Saturday, and Parliament voted Saturday afternoon on a list of candidates submitted by the judiciary.
But the Parliament approved only one name, leaving the Guardian Council with 10 members -- not the full 12.
That threw the presidential confirmation process into crisis, since the Constitution does not specify how many members of the council must be at the presidential swearing-in ceremony -- only that the council itself must be present.
The Parliament had hoped 10 council members would suffice, but Khamenei disagreed.
According to the BBC, reformists see the intervention by Ayatollah Khamenei as a move orchestrated by the conservatives to undermine President Khatami.
It was the ayatollah's second intervention in less than 24 hours.
It came after the head of judiciary on Sunday rejected a compromise put forward by the parliamentary speaker, Mehdi Karrubi.
Karubi announced Sunday that the inauguration would take place on Tuesday.
"The ceremony will be held Tuesday in a public session," Karubi had said – Albawaba.com
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