Lawmaker Proposes Switch to Parliamentary System

Lawmaker Proposes Switch to Parliamentary SystemLawmaker Proposes Switch to Parliamentary System

A group of lawmakers intend to submit a letter to the Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei asking him to revise the constitution from a republican system to a parliamentary one.

In a recent talk with ICANA, Ezzatollah Yousefian pointed to the Leader’s remarks in 2011 when he floated the idea for the first time, saying that “the creation of a parliamentary system is debatable”.

The MP did not mention how many lawmakers had signed or intend to sign such a letter.

The idea of setting a parliamentary system was reintroduced in Iranian politics in October 2011 by the Leader who said, “The current political system of the country is presidential, and the president is elected directly by the people. This is a good and effective system. But if one day in the distant or near future … it would seem that in place of a presidential system, for instance, a parliamentary system is desirable … there is no problem.”

The position of prime minister was perhaps the longest-lasting position in Iran in the last century.

The first official prime minister came at the turn of the last century in 1906 after the Constitutional Revolution and survived into the first decade after the Islamic Revolution up until 1989.

On 28 July 1989, a constitutional referendum was held in Iran, based on which the post of prime minister was eliminated and replaced by an elected president.

As stipulated by Article 177 of the Iranian Constitution, any constitutional amendment must first be approved by the Leader and then put to a public referendum to become law.

  Undesirable Status Quo

Yousefian said under the current status quo, parliamentarians have to overlook many shortcomings of the administration when they wish to interact with the executive branch.

“The issue of supervision [of the administration by Majlis] in the current laws means conflicting with the administration,” he said, adding that many lawmakers try not to call ministers to testify before the parliament or impeach them because they want to avoid disputes with the executive branch.

He pointed to the so-called “astronomical payslip scandal”, where some officials were paid inflated salaries, adding that “both the executive and legislative branches are trying to exonerate themselves before the public who are left in no-man’s land”, not knowing who to blame for it.

“If the administration is elected by the parliament, then any shortcoming or fault will be followed up by lawmakers immediately,” he said.

Yousefian noted that any change to the constitution must be made after the end of the current administration of President Hassan Rouhani to avoid giving the impression about the parliament’s animosity toward his administration.


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