October 12, 2019
Iran’s decision-making elite, especially the Revolutionary Guards, are preparing to amend the government formation law ahead of upcoming presidential elections, well-informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.
The move primarily aims to split government portfolios among presidential candidates and to form coalition cabinets, sources added.
Under the current law, the Iranian president, after coordinating with the country’s supreme leader, selects three ministers: foreign affairs, defense and intelligence. They, however, also oversee the designation of ministers of higher education, education, culture and information.
The plan to amend the law is expected to reap internal agreement with those close to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. It represents a compromise between those demanding the restoration of the parliamentary system and supporters of Iran’s presidential system.
Government sharing among presidential candidates, as a proposition, comes after years of failure of candidates who entered the country’s political scene after exiting the ranks of the Revolutionary Guards.
Iranian authorities fear the “challenges” of presidential elections, especially after experiencing the Green Movement protests.
In October 2011, statements by the Iranian leader about the reinstatement of the prime minister’s post sparked much speculation about changing the presidential system to the parliamentary system.
“If one day we feel that the parliamentary system is better for electing officials in the executive branch (government), there is no problem in changing the current mechanism,” Khamenei said at the time.
At the beginning of October 2017, two months after President Hassan Rouhani took the constitutional oath for a second term as president, MPs asked in writing to the supreme leader to reconsider changing into a parliamentary system.
Rouhani, for his part, warned the country’s powerful Guardian Council to avoid stricter vetting of candidates in the upcoming parliamentary elections next February.
The first national parliamentary election in Iran was held on March 14, 1980.