Presidency of the Islamic Republic of Iran
The second highest authority next to the Supreme Leader in Iran, is the president. The constitution of 1979 saw the president as the head of the executive, but at the same time as the coordinator of the three branches of the state. This placed him above all three of them. Eventually, this duty was removed from the office of President and placed under the authority of the Supreme Leader. This move caused wide speculation that the President's effective role and authority had been compromised, making the position a mouthpiece of policy determined by the Supreme Leader.
The President is directly elected by people for a term of four years and his re-election for a successive term is permitted only once. According to the Constitution, he must possess the following qualifications: Iranian origin and nationality, administrative and managerial skills, piety and trustworthiness, and a belief in the Islamic Republic's fundamental principles and the official religion of the country. He would have several deputies, and his Vice President would assume his tasks in his absence, upon his death or resignation, or illness for more than two months, or in any other case. The Supreme Leader's consent was essential for this. If necessary, the Vice President was required to arrange for a presidential election within 50 days of assuming office.
The President signs and supervises the implementation of laws passed by the Majles, signs treaties and other international agreements ratified by the Majles, receives the credentials of foreign ambassadors, endorses those of Iranian ambassadors sent abroad, and presides over the National Security Council. His responsibilities also include the administration of the country's budget and development plans ratified by the Majles. Either the President or the First Vice President presides over the meetings of the Cabinet.
The President's Office consists of the Secretariat, advisors and deputies to the President. After the revolution, documents and files of the former regime's disbanded National Security and Intelligence Organization (SAVAK), which was affiliated to the Prime Minister's Office were taken over. A special department was assigned to take charge of those files. The President also has multiple aids in charge of Planning and Budget Organization (Sazeman-e Barnameh va Budgeh or PBO, now the Management and Planning Organisation or MPO), the Organization of Administrative and Employment Affairs (Sazeman-e Moor Estekhdami va Edari Keshvar, which is assigned to coordinate government organizations, to frame rules and regulations for employment of civil servants and to draw up organizational charts for newly established organizations), Atomic Energy Organization (Sazeman-e Energy Atomi), Civil Service and Social Security (Sazeman-e Bazneshastegi Keshvari), the Environmental Affairs Organization (Sazeman-e Hefz-e Mohit-e Zist), the Executive Affairs Organizations, and the Physical Training Organization (Sazeman-e Tarbiat Badani), State Management Training Center of Iran (Sazeman-e Amoozesh Modiriat Sanati Iran), and National Documents Organization of Iran (Sazeman-e Assnad-e Melli Iran, the state archives).
The PBO was reponsible for the Statistics Center of Iran, National Cartography Center, Computer Center, Iranian Data Processing Company, and Remote Assessment Center (satellites application project). The Plan and Budget Ministry was eventually abolished as a ministry, and the responsibility for it as well as the Civil Employment and Administrative Affairs Organization was entrusted to the president. The ministry had replaced the PBO, which had been under the direct control of the Prime Minister in 1985. This came about because members of Majlis were not allowed to put questions to the Prime Minister. They could, however, demand answers from the plan and budget minister. The PBO was replaced was replaced with the Management and Planning Organisation.
The Prime Minister was initially the actual head of the executive. According to the constitution of 1979 he should be nominated by the President and had to win a vote of confidence from the Majlis. Ministers were nominated by the Prime Minister and approved by the President. Upon approval by the latter, ministers appeared before the Majlis to receive a vote of confidence.
Ministers were directly accountable to the Majlis. The Prime Minister was responsible for all the actions taken by his ministers, and each individual minister was responsible for all measures and decisions taken by the cabinet. Members of parliament might table motions of no confidence in the cabinet as a whole or in individual ministers (as stated in Articles 133-137 of the constitution).
The most important modification of the constitutional amendment in regard of the executive was the abolition of the office of Prime Minister. The President has been given all the powers that the Prime Minister had under the constitution. The President would name ministers, introduce them to the Majlis to obtain votes of confidence, and ask for a vote of confidence for his government from the Majlis on controversial issues. Unlike the Prime Minister, however, he did not have to receive a vote of confidence before forming a government, because he was elected by the direct vote of the people. The president, however, faces the same checks as the Prime Minister.
In addition to ministers, the President may also be asked questions or face a vote of non-confidence. One quarter of all members of Majlis may table a question to the president, who will have to answer it in the house. Any one member may put questions to any minister of his responsibilities. Motion of no confidence in ministers must be signed by 10 members of Majlis. Ministers who fail to win a vote of confidence will be dismissed and may not be members of the government immediately formed afterwards. To enable a motion of no confidence in the President, endorsement of one-third of members is required. A majority of two-thirds is needed to dismiss the President with a vote of no confidence.
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