faqih, liberal candidates, Khomeini, Majlis, clergymen
Legislative authority is vested in the Majlis, a single-chamber parliament. Its 290 members, 5 of whom represent non-Muslim religious minorities, are popularly elected for four-year terms. The Majlis can force the dismissal of cabinet ministers by no-confidence votes and can impeach the president for misconduct in office. Although the executive proposes most laws, individual deputies of the Majlis also may introduce legislation. Deputies also may propose amendments to bills being debated.
A 12-member Council of Guardians ensures that all legislation enacted by the Majlis conforms to Islamic principles and the constitution. The Council of Guardians also approves candidates for presidential, Majlis, and other elections. In 1997 the conservative-controlled Council of Guardians used this power to disqualify many liberal candidates from the election to the Assembly of Experts. Members of the Council of Guardians serve six-year terms. Six of the members must be clergymen appointed by the faqih, and six must be Muslim lawyers appointed by the judiciary. Conflicts between the Council of Guardians and the more secular Majlis led Khomeini in 1988 to create the Expediency Council, a body charged with resolving legislative disputes. The Expediency Council comprises the six clergymen from the Council of Guardians and seven leading government officials.
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