By Atul Aneja
New Delhi, Sep 3 The Taliban’s hybrid model of “governance”, with Hibatullah Akhundzada as unelected “supreme leader”, is likely to bear only a superficial resemblance to the political model of Iran – a country that has developed its own system of “guided” democracy.
While details on the Afghan model under the Taliban have yet to be released, it is unlikely to echo the Iranian political device, designed under the leadership of the late Grand Ayatollah Hussein-Ali Montazeri. The “deep thinker” Montazeri, developed a system that merged key elements of Western democracy with the Twelver school of Shia Islam. As a result, he succeeded in forging a strong “theocratic democracy”, which would protect the Islamic revolution that overthrew a west-facing monarchy, led by Shah Reza Pahlavi, in 1979.
How was Montazeri’s model unique?
For starters, the Iranian parliament and presidency are freely elected by the people, although there have been accusations of rigging by unelected authorities as in 2009, when conservative candidate Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became president by defeating Mir-Hossein. Mousavi, a “green” that attracts crowds. “pretending to the party.
But there is a catch in the Iranian electoral system that distinguishes it from the Western or Indian democratic system, and has been the cause of much criticism. The problem lies in the “selection” of the candidates for the elections. Unlike conventional democracies, the list of candidates who can stand for election is controlled by a single institution called the Council of Guardians. The Council is primarily appointed by the office of the Supreme Leader, who critics say is an unelected leader and lacks the legitimacy to wield enormous, if not unbridled, power.
Supporters of the Iranian system, however, dispute this claim that it is a deliberate distortion generated by Tehran’s sworn enemies, who are blinded by the goal of rolling back the Islamic revolution, denying it any legitimacy.
Supporters of the system say it is wrong to claim that the Supreme Leader is not elected and that he is imposed from above by the Iranian mullahcracy.
They point out that the Supreme Leader is indeed elected by a single Iranian institution called the Assembly of Experts.
After careful consideration by the Council of Guardians, 88 Mujtahids are elected directly by popular vote for an eight-year term in the Assembly of Experts. The Assembly had 82 members elected in 1982, but its size grew to 88 in 2016. The Assembly meets at least four times a year.
The Assembly is responsible for recalling and electing the Supreme Leader. According to the Iranian Constitution, if the leader “becomes unable to fulfill his constitutional duties, or loses any of the qualifications mentioned in the Constitution, or if it is learned that he did not have some of the qualifications initially, he will be dismissed” .
However, the Assembly did not dismiss a sitting Supreme Leader during its existence.
The Afghan model devised by die-hard Sunni groups is unlikely to follow the Iranian system of democracy that has its roots in the Twelver school of Shia Islam. We can therefore expect the emergence of a new theocratic system with unique characteristics.
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2021-09-03-23: 48: 04