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Islamic Republic Constitution Approved

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December, 3, 1979 A.D.:
Islamic Republic Constitution Approved

By: Mir M.Hosseini

On June 18, 1979, the Freedom Movement released its draft constitution for the Islamic Republic that it had been working on since Imam Khomeini was in exile. Aside from substituting a president for the king, the draft constitution did not differ markedly from the 1906 constitution. Approved by Khomeini, the constitution included a Guardian Council to veto un-Islamic legislation, but had no guardian jurist ruler. Leftists found the draft too conservative and in need of major changes but Khomeini declared it `correct`. To approve the new constitution a seventy-three-member Assembly of Experts for Constitution was elected that summer. Then Assembly of Experts convened on August 18, 1979, to consider the draft constitution. Supporters of the Islamic Republic Party dominated the assembly, which changed the constitution to establish a state dominated by the clergy. The Assembly of Experts completed its work on November 15, and the Constitution was approved in a national referendum on December 2 and 3, 1979,
Critics complained that "vote-rigging, violence against undesirable candidates and the dissemination of false information" was used to "produce an assembly overwhelmingly dominated by clergies loyal to Khomeini." But it was a power struggle; a phenomenon in almost all revolutions
(Wikipedia) - The Assembly was originally conceived of as a way expediting the draft constitution so to prevent leftist alterations. Ironically, Khomeini (and the assembly) now rejected the constitution — its correctness notwithstanding — and Khomeini declaring that the new government should be based "100% on Islam."
Between mid-August and mid-November 1979, the Assembly commenced to draw up a new constitution, the one that leftists found even more objectionable. In addition to president, the Assembly added on a more powerful post of guardian jurist ruler intended for Khomeini, with control of the military and security services, and power to appoint several top government and judicial officials. The power and number of clerics on the Council of Guardians was increased. The council was given control over elections for president, parliament, and the "experts" that elected the Supreme Leader), as well as laws passed by the legislature.
The new constitution was approved by referendum on December 2 and 3, 1979. It was supported by the Revolutionary Council and other groups, but opposed by some clerics, including Ayatollah Mohammad Kazem Shariatmadari, and by secularists such as the National Front who urged a boycott. Again over 98% were reported to have voted in favor but turnout was comparatively smaller than the referendum on an Islamic Republic on April, 1, 1979 (11, 12 Farvardin).

KEY TERMS:Assembly of Experts , Ayatollah , Constitution , Farvardin , Freedom Movement , Guardian , Guardian Council , Imam , Imam Khomeini , Islam , Islamic , Islamic Republic , Khom , Khomein , Khomeini , National Front , Revolutionary Council , Sharia , Shariatmadari , Supreme Leader , Wikipedia

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