The Constitution stipulates that the president is "the holder of the highest official power next to the office of faqih." In effect, the president is the head of state of the Islamic Republic. Articles 113 to 132 of the Constitution pertain to the qualifications, powers, and responsibilities of the president. The president is elected for a four- year term on the basis of an absolute majority vote of the national electorate and may be reelected for one additional term. The president must be a Shia Muslim and a man "of political and religious distinction." He is empowered to choose the prime minister, approve the nominations of ministers, sign laws into force, and veto decrees issued by the Council of Ministers, or cabinet.
Elected in January 1980, Abolhasan Bani Sadr was Iran's first president under the Constitution of 1979. His tenure of office was marked by intense rivalry with the IRP-dominated Majlis. Within one year of his election, relations between the president and his opponents in the Majlis had deteriorated so severely that the Majlis initiated impeachment proceedings against Bani Sadr. In June 1981, a majority of Majlis deputies voted that Bani Sadr had been negligent in his duties and requested that Khomeini dismiss him from office as specified under the Constitution.
Iran's second president, Mohammad Ali Rajai, was elected in July 1981 but served only a brief term before being assassinated in a bombing at the prime minister's office on August 30, 1981. The third president, Hojjatoleslam Ali Khamenehi, was elected in October 1981 and re- elected to a second term in 1985. During his tenure, relations between the presidency and the Majlis have been relatively cooperative. Not only was Khamenehi an important religious figure but he also was secretary general of the IRP until its dissolution in 1987.
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