Saturday, May 06, 2006

Iran to Elect Supreme Leader's Supervisory Body in November

Yahoo News:
Iranians will vote in November for the powerful Assembly of Experts which is tasked with appointing or ousting the republic's leader. The 86-member body is considered one of the main pillars of clerical supremacy in national politics and supervises the work of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Members of the assembly must be experts in Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) and are elected by direct public vote to eight-year terms. The vote is to take place November 17, the ISNA news agency reported on Saturday. The last such election was in 1998. READ MORE

However, the hardline watchdog Guardians Council has the power to screen all candidates wishing to stand in parliamentary, presidential or Assembly of Experts elections, and can also approve or annul the election results.

According to the Iranian constitution, the Assembly of Experts "is obliged to search all the qualified Faqihs, and appoint (to the leadership of the Islamic republic) the one which is more knowledgeable in Islam, politics and social issues."

They also have the responsibility to oversee his work and determine whether he is fit to continue his duties according to the Iranian constitution.

If not, they have the right to dismiss him.

The Assembly of Experts is currently chaired by Ayatollah Ali Meshkini. Former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is a deputy leader.

Iran's supreme leader enjoys extensive powers in political, religious and military matters.

Khamenei has been the premier political personality and highest religious authority since the death of supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in June 1989.