Iran's Guardian Council, the government body in charge of guarding the constitution, has announced that eliminating the elected president from the system would not go against the spirit of the Islamic Republic regime.
Iranian media report that council spokesman Abbasali Kadkhodayi said selecting the president through Parliament rather than through a popular vote would not be contrary to the republican nature of the system.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei recently stated that, while the current system is acceptable, it would be possible going forward to cancel the presidential election and have Parliament select the executive branch.
Both of these statements come after a string of disputes between Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's administration and Parliament, which have repeatedly made headlines across Iran.
A group of MPs even tried to summon Ahmadinejad for questioning in Parliament, accusing him of failing to implement legislation passed by Parliament.
While the Presiding Board of Parliament has been reluctant to summon Ahmadinejad for questioning, the head of Parliament, Ali Larijani, has weighed in on the debate over eliminating presidential elections, saying the president could be selected by the country's elite (MPs) so that "Parliament could work with him more easily and be able to limit his authority."
In contrast, Ayatollah Rafsanjani, the head of the Expediency Council and also a former two-term president, has said omitting presidential elections would "weaken the republican nature of the regime and violate the constitution by limiting the elective powers of the people, which is for sure not what the leader would mean to indicate."
The presidential elections of 2009 caused a deep rift in the Islamic Republic system, after reformist candidates disputed the results, which led to mass demonstrations. In the aftermath of the crackdown on protesters and more progressive political figures, the conservative faction of the regime has grown concerned about elections and their potential to mobilize further mass protests.
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