14 March Alliance

What Future for the Frangieh Settlement?

This is the 16th post in a series of monthly posts covering the presidential elections. This post is about the month of December 2015.

Is Frangieh going to be elected president? Until the second week of December, most of Lebanon thought so. However, several developments this month indicated that the deadlock is very likely to remain as there is still no unanimous agreement on Frangieh. Although the Marada said that the settlement still stands, the Frangieh-Aoun meeting as well as several other reports hint that things are not going very well for Frangieh’s candidacy.

International pressure and “local resistance”

In what might be the most desperate (yet obvious) attempt to obstruct the Frangieh deal, the Christian parties have tried during the past few weeks to make the Frangieh candidacy look as an imported international deal brokered by regional powers (the Hollande phone call, the Frangiehs close family ties with the Assads as well as the green light coming from Saudi Arabia have made it easier for them to launch this maneuver): On the 11th, Adwan said that the ambassadors’ stances won’t influence the LF’s decisions. Two days later, Gemayel stated that it was hard for outside to decide on the presidential file. The disproportionate coverage of Berri’s decision not visit Saudi Arabia (really, why do we even need to know?) perhaps highlights an attempt from the pro-Frangieh camp to undermine the allegations of an internationally-sponsored deal.

Frangieh Who?

On the other side of the political spectrum, the Future movement was acting very weird. On the 19th of December, one day after Frangieh officially declared his candidacy and sponsored himself as a moderate candidate during a televised interview, Khaled Daher (the rebellious FM MP from Akkar) said he would choose aoun over Frangieh for the  presidency. While that was rather expected from Daher, another northern MP, Ahmad Fatfat, said from Maarab that Frangieh’s name was…never ever considered in the first place (?!?!). However the FM’s highest ranking minister in the cabinet (interior, Mashnouk), said that Frangieh’s interview “showed sincerity” (also, look at Future newspaper’s front page). While it is yet unclear if there is a major disagreement on Frangieh’s name in the ranks of the Future Movement or if it is a maneuver to (re)strengthen Frangieh among M8 by making him look as a hated candidate in M14, it seems that the FM is trying to delay an official endorsement of Frangieh in order to maintain its ties with the Lebanese Forces.

Peace and love

One of the most awkward moments in Lebanese politics this year was perhaps when Saudi-Arabia decided to form an Islamic coalition to fight ISIS and included Lebanon in it. As expected, not everyone was happy with that decision: While Salam hailed the move and Hariri praised it, Mohamad Raad of Hezbolah absolutely refused Lebanon’s participation and Qaouk accused it of supporting takfiris. Even the Kataeb were confused, saying that it should have been named ‘Arab’ instead of ‘Islamic’ (you know, since Saudi Arabia cares about the Kataeb’s feelings). In another decade, Lebanon’s participation in such a coalition would have started a civil war, but it was not the time to start a fight (the Frangieh deal was apparently the priority), so the whole debate suddenly…disappeared (after Salam assured everyone that no one could have prevented him from taking a decision that he deemed appropriate). Even the death of Samir Qantar in Syria and the commemoration of Mohamad Chatah’s assassination were rather calmly handled by the Future Movement and Hezbollah: The speeches were (relatively) moderate towards the other camp – Siniora was a bit harsh, but then again, that isn’t something new. With Frangieh’s candidacy on the horizon, there seems to be an agreement to keep things “politically peaceful” at the moment. Even the death of Ali Eid – the Alawi leader who was wanted by the Lebanese judiciary over his alleged involvement the 2013 twin Tripoli bombings – almost went unnoticed last week: Lebanon’s politicians didn’t make any comments on what could have been the most important event this month. Did I also mention that there has finally been an agreement on a trash plan without a lot of objections in the cabinet? Too much silence in Lebanese politics could mean that there is indeed a deal in the making.

A comeback opportunity for the others?

The only positive (yet controversial) event that happened this year was the release of the abducted Lebanese servicemen. While it happened in the middle of the talks on the Frangieh deal, it was a very important boost for the (undeclared) campaign of the commander of the army: On the 9th of December, the strengthened army chief said there would be no safe passage for militants. On the 21st, Berri said that if the Maronite four weren’t going to agree on a candidate (Frangieh), then it would be possible for another candidate to run. He was probably pressuring the Maronite leaders, yet the Patriarchy’s hint that it is ready to support someone outside the Maronite four, followed the next day by the Patriarch’s praise of the army, puts back Kahwagi’s name back in the game.

Amine Gemayel’s recent plans to spearhead a joint Maronite project to end the deadlock can also be seen as an attempt by the last politician of the Maronite four who still hasn’t seriously proposed himself as candidate to do so in the wake of Frangieh’s recent mini-defeats.

So is Frangieh going to be elected president?

Until the second week of December, most of Lebanon thought so. There was a parliamentary session to elect the president on the 16th, and most of late November’s statements had hinted that Frangieh could be elected before the end of the year. Three of the biggest four Muslim parties were in agreement on his candidacy, Frangieh has the necessary legitimacy by being one of the Maronite four, he’s close to Syria, has international approval (apparently), and managed to gather support from March 8 (Amal), March 14 (Mustaqbal), and the centre (PSP). The leader of the Marada was coming close to the 65 votes he needs to win, and all he needed was Aoun’s blessing followed by Hezbollah’s green light. Even if Frangieh had managed to secure an absolute majority in parliament, he still needed the necessary two-thirds quorum, and the Hezbollah-FPM alliance controls – on its own – around 30% of the seats in parliament. In other words, it is almost impossible for Frangieh – or anyone else – to be elected without a green light from Aoun, unless he can convince 95% of the other MPs to attend the session (Good luck persuading the Kataeb and the LF to vote for Frangieh). Reports that Frangieh has kicked off talks with independent figures (like MP Boutros Harb) might indicate that he is trying to gather as much support as possible to gather the 86 votes he needs for the quorum – especially that Hezbollah cannot veto his election by using the sectarian card now that Frangieh has Berri behind him.

While the election of Frangieh as president is a long-term investment (Frangieh is only 50 years old and will rule as president for 6 years) for Hezbollah and could reinforce the March 8 alliance – in case Aoun approves – till the next parliamentary election, Aoun doesn’t exactly benefit from the Frangieh deal. A minor ally of his becomes a major rival that threatens the influence of the newly elected FPM president Gebran Bassil, and Aoun will have no guarantee whatsoever on what happens with the electoral law. If the FPM isn’t given assurances – the outline of the new electoral law, the FPM’s share in the new cabinet or even bringing Chamel Roukoz (in a way or another) back into the army command -the deal is as good as dead (unless Hezbollah breaks the alliance with Aoun and we end up with a quadripartite Muslim alliance supporting Frangieh and a tripartite Christian one opposing him. But as Hezbollah refuses to do so, that scenario doesn’t seem very likely to happen in the near future). To quote speaker Berri, “The best scenario to resolve the crisis lies in an agreement between Change and Reform bloc chief MP Michel Aoun and Marada Movement leader MP Suleiman Franjieh.”

And to quote the FPM’s MP Ibrahim Kanaan, “Political competition is essential for democracy” (If you know what he means).

Brace yourself for a Frangieh-Aoun competition in 2016, Lebanon.

583 days since the 25th of May. 419 days since the 5th of November.

Is the Quadripartite Alliance Rising from the Dead?

 Lebanon's former president, Sleiman Frangieh (the grandfather), hunting in Syria. Found on the internet.

Lebanon’s former president, Sleiman Frangieh (the grandfather), hunting in Syria. Found on the internet.

In 2005, and as the Syrian army was retreating from Lebanon, a quadripartite alliance was formed between Lebanon’s four major Muslim parties (Amal, Hezbollah, the FM, and the PSP) ahead of the parliamentary elections. At the time, the 2000 electoral law was still in place, which meant that the quadripartite alliance could have easily won more than 100 seat in Lebanon’s parliament: The electoral map was engineered by the pro-Syrian elite in a way  to reduce Christian influence – only two constituencies had a clear-cut Christian majority, Keserwan-Jbeil and the Metn. The maneuver was obvious: It was a way of reassuring Lebanon’s pro-Syrian parties (Amal, Hezbollah) that they wouldn’t be excluded from the Lebanese equation following the Syrian withdrawal, while at the same time keeping the Christian newcomers in check: Michel Aoun had just come back from Paris, there was increasing pressure to release Geagea from jail, and both of them had been gaining momentum and threatening to challenge the dominance of the quadripartite alliance’s parties. The Kataeb and the LF eventually settled for a couple of seats they won alongside the quadripartite alliance in the Muslim-dominated districts while the FPM, on their own in the opposition, “tsunamied” in the two Christian-majority constituencies and even managed to partially make it through in Zahle. However with the 2006 memorandum of understanding between the FPM and Hezbollah, a new era began in Lebanese politics, shattering the 2005 quadripartite alliance into the March 8 and March 14 alliances: Amal and Hezbollah joined the FPM in the opposition, lost the 2009 elections, but eventually managed to reach power in 2011.

Then came the month of November 2015. For the first time since 2006, several events in Lebanese politics started putting in question the cohesion of Lebanon’s two main alliances, March 8 and March 14. If it wasn’t for a last minute-decision, the FPM and the LF were on the verge of standing against their Muslim allies in parliament. Regardless of the reservations coming from the Christian parties, the four parties in parliament were insisting on legislating in the absence of a president in power and were going through with their plans regardless of the opinion of all of their Christian allies – except Frangieh. This dangerous precedent of trying to isolate the biggest three Christian parties in Lebanon wasn’t going to be the first that year: The same four Muslim parties that allied in 2005 and isolated the Christian parties in early November are now talking about electing Frangieh as president, much to the dismay of the FPM, the LF, and the Kataeb.

The Maronite four

The presidential elections are the most exciting event for the Christian parties, and the failure of their Muslim allies to stand with them – even after one year and a half of vacancy – can be deadly for Lebanon’s two alliances. It was always a possibility that Lebanon’s Muslim parties would eventually support their own candidate to the presidential elections, which is why, and in a desperate preemptive move two years ago, Lebanon’s four Maronite leaders gave themselves the  title of “strong presidential candidate”, thus agreeing early on that only one of them would be allowed to be elected president. The maronite four knew that at least one of Lebanon’s Muslim parties would veto each of their names, and that candidates like LAF commander Jean Kahwagi were more likely to be consensual ones so they launched one of the most brilliant maneuvers of 2014 and restricted the acceptable candidates to a group of 4 persons: Themselves.

The Maronite one

So what exactly happened to the Maronite four’s solidarity campaign? It backfired: Samir Geagea ran in the first round of presidential elections and lost…to no one,  Amine Gemayel was replaced as president of his party by his son Sami while Gebran Bassil took his father-in-law’s position in the FPM. This transitional phase that suddenly hit two of Lebanon’s Christian parties – accompanied by Geagea’s humiliation in parliament, made Frangieh the second-oldest of the Maronite (de-facto) four and a serious candidate for the presidency. His rebellious attitude towards Aoun in the last two times the parliament convened in – unlike Aoun, he supported the parliamentary extension of 2014 while also dissociating his policy from the FPM’s one in the last parliamentary session – was very marking. His criticism of Aoun’s protests, as well as his commentary on  the FPM/LF’s latest achievement (the new citizenship law) did not go unnoticed.

Frangieh is also gaining momentum. Only this week, he received a phone call from the French president and got the blessing of the Maronite patriarch.

All that time – and while staunchly supporting Aoun’s candidacy – Frangieh was slowly stepping out of the Shadow of the Maronite Four. Only months ago, he used to be the youngest of the group. Now he’s the second oldest (official) leader of Lebanon’s Christian parties and is starting to pose a serious threat on both Geagea and Aoun. When those two leaders decided to start their rapprochement in May, we all thought that it was to counter the rise of Sami Gemayel in the Kataeb. Turns out that this mini-weird-alliance between the FPM and the LF was also made to contain a rising threat to Baabda coming from the North: Sleiman Frangieh.

Tripartite alliance vs Quadripartite alliance?

If the Muslim parties that isolated Aoun in 2005 come back together to elect Frangieh without getting the blessing of any of Lebanon’s Christian parties, it would set a dangerous precedent – perhaps the most dangerous one since Taef: For the first time, Lebanon’s Muslim parties – aka the quadripartite alliance – would be voting for Frangieh and will be – in a way or another – pushing Lebanon’s biggest three Christian parties (FPM, LF, Kataeb) to form a counter-alliance to resist Frangieh’s election. The last time a Frangieh was in power and that the Christians and Muslims were siding against one another was in 1975, so  it’s not really good to have that same combination again.

How the Maronite four treaty will backfire

The biggest three Christian parties will count on the fact that their boycott of the election of the top Maronite post will be enough to force the hand of their Muslim allies. You can’t expect the Christian parties to simply let the Muslim parties decide the outcome of the presidential elections without their approval: This would raise questions on the legitimacy of a Christian president “abandoned by his won sect” (That’s the propaganda the three Christian parties would use). Frangieh might be weaker than the others (he’s a local Zaim who only commands three MPs in parliament and who has been overshadowed by Aoun for the past 10 years), but then again, he doesn’t need to prove his legitimacy to anyone: He is one of the Maronite four, and he will use this weapon against the bigger 3 parties every time he can. For Lebanon’s four Muslim parties, Frangieh represents the most legitimate candidate that could be elected without the consent of Geagea, Aoun and Gemayel. When the Maronite four restricted the post to one of them, they had probably never thought that the Muslim parties would eventually support one of their own. Yet in a way, they led the Muslim parties straight to Frangieh: He has the right name and he’s part of the Maronite four. At only 55 50 years old, he’s one of the oldest-serving MPs in the Lebanese parliament (1992-2005, 2009-2017), he’s local (<=> weak <=> even better since he won’t be as defiant as the others), he’s reliable, he doesn’t suddenly change sides, he did his time in the executive power and thus has the experience to rule (unlike Geagea), and he was the only Christian leader to stand by his Muslim ally throughout most of the events. Frangieh was close to winning the game, and his three rivals – while thinking they were protecting themselves from kahwagi or Salamis nomination – gave him the winning cards. Or so it seems.

An M8 conspiracy theory?

According to many of M8’s supporters, Frangieh’s nomination is considered to be a hidden “Aoun” one. They say that Aoun is stalling in order to give the impression that Frangieh is not his candidate thus making his name more popular across the FM. Although everything can be possible in the realm of Lebanese politics, I’m not a fan of conspiracy theories and reverse-conspiracy theories, and only time will tell if this an M14 maneuver to blow up M8 or an M8 counter-maneuver to take the presidency. Aoun might eventually endorse Frangieh as his protege in order to minimize his loss, although one thing is for sure: A new chapter in Lebanese politics is opening up, and Gebran Bassil should be ready to face a serious threat to his power within M8.

Hezbollah’s green light to the Frangieh candidacy is also yet to be given, so almost all scenarios are possible at that moment.

The biggest of all ironies here is that Frangieh (the grandfather) counted on the support of a “Christian tripartite alliance” (consisting of Chamoun, Edde and Gemayel) to be elected president in 1970, while the biggest obstacle currently facing his grandson seems to be another Christian tripartite alliance. For the Frangiehs, the only thing that is constant seems to be the support they receive from the Jumblatts during the presidential elections.

559 days since the 25th of May. 395 days since the 5th of November.

Is the Frangieh Scenario Possible?

Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri (R) chats with Lebanese Christian politician and leader of the Marada movement Suleiman Franjieh (L) as Head of Hezbollah's parliamentary bloc Mohamed Raad (2nd L), MP Assaad Hardan (C) and Lebanon's Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri listen to them during a new session of the national dialogue between political leaders at the Presidential Palace in Baabda, near Beirut April 15, 2010. (Photo: REUTERS/Dalati Nohra)

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri (R) chats with Lebanese Christian politician and leader of the Marada movement Suleiman Franjieh (L) as Head of Hezbollah’s parliamentary bloc Mohamed Raad (2nd L), MP Assaad Hardan (C) and Lebanon’s Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri listen to them during a new session of the national dialogue between political leaders at the Presidential Palace in Baabda, near Beirut April 15, 2010. (Photo: REUTERS/Dalati Nohra)

This is the 15th post in a series of monthly posts covering the presidential elections. This post is about the month of November 2015.

Accordingly, [Future MP] Shab foresees serious negotiations taking place within “weeks, not months” to agree on a candidate “who can navigate a Sunni-Shiite conflict and who has the confidence of both parties […] someone with a certain degree of legitimate representation, but who is also agreeable to both sides.”

Asked by NOW who might fit that profile, Shab cited the leader of the 8 March-aligned Marada Movement, MP Sleiman Frangieh. When NOW queried how Frangieh, a staunch ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, could be acceptable to 14 March, Shab hinted at a hypothetical agreement by which Frangieh’s presidency would be paired with Future leader MP Saad Hariri as prime minister.

(2014)

Around the months of October and November of every year (since the presidential debate started in 2013) , Lebanon gets the impression that Sleiman Frangieh might be elected president. This year is no exception: On Wednesday, Frangieh said that “Change and Reform bloc MP Michel Aoun is the March 8 camp’s presidential candidate, but if the March 14 camp makes a proposal, then we are willing to consider it.”

In what might be the most exciting political event this year since Aoun was isolated in government and Roukoz was thrown outside the army, several events (since the twin suicide bombings happened) hinted at the possibility of Sleiman Frangieh being elected president:

(1) Hezbollah Secretary General, Hassan Nasrallah, addressed local political forces “to search for a true political settlement” (Link)

(2) The Future parliamentary bloc Tuesday welcomed Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah’s call for a political settlement in Lebanon, urging a concrete plan to be put into action (Link)

(3) According to information also obtained by LBCI, a meeting over the issue of the presidential vote was held Saturday in Riyadh between Hariri, Mustaqbal bloc chief ex-PM Fouad Saniora, Deputy Speaker Farid Makari, Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq, and Hariri’s advisers Nader Hariri, Ghattas Khoury and Hani Hammoud.

Hariri had on Saturday described the vacuum at the presidential post as “the biggest insult to the Lebanese people on their national day of independence.”

According to media reports, the ex-PM held talks last week with Marada Movement leader MP Suleiman Franjieh, who belongs to the rival March 8 camp. (Link)

(4) Raad: Let’s debate and reach some understanding. (Link)

(5) Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi Monday criticized the idea of electing a candidate with links to Syrian President Bashar Assad as Lebanon’s next head of state. (Link)

(6) Change and Reform Parliamentary Bloc Member, Deputy Nabil Ncoula, stated Monday that “a full package does not imply the elimination of General Michel Aoun, but actually highlights the need for a genuine partnership based on respecting true representation.” (Link)

(7) Marada Movement chief MP Suleiman Franjieh stressed Monday that the country’s new president must “reassure” all of the Lebanese political and social components (Link)

(8) Head of the Change and Reform bloc MP Michel Aoun noted that Marada Movement chief MP Suleiman Franjieh has the needed characteristics to become president, adding that he is willing to back his bid for the presidency, reported As Safir newspaper on Tuesday.

His visitors told the daily that the lawmaker is “willing to give his blessing to Franjieh’s candidacy if he garners the necessary votes at parliament.”  (Link)

(9) Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri and his March 14 ally Kataeb leader Sami Gemayel have agreed that all efforts must be put toward electing a president, a statement released by Hariri’s media office said Tuesday (Link)

(10) The Future Parliamentary bloc on Tuesday held its weekly meeting chaired by its leader, Fouad Siniora, and called for doubled efforts that would lead to a comprehensive national compromise which could preserve the national pact, devotes the Taif as a reference and finally solves the crisis of the presidency. (Link)

The speculations started as soon as the Frangieh-Hariri meeting happened and the positive statements by Lebanon’s rival politicians made the possibility of the deal more likely. Both Hezbollah and the FM seem to be willing to settle the issue for good, and for the first time in three years, we could say that the presidential negotiations are finally – in a way or another – underway. Frangieh might seem as an odd choice to fill a consensual position, but then again he might be the best solution available for M8 and M14 as part of a bigger deal tackling the name of the next prime minister, the composition of the cabinet, and the electoral law.

 The Christian exception of Sleiman Frangieh

There are three types of Christian leaders in Beirut. There’s the Samy Gemayel type, willing to defy the greater (Muslim) ally in case the decisions aren’t in his party’s interests. Then there’s the Geagea/Aoun type, who usually stalls and negotiates, before (almost always) agreeing to a compromise with the greater ally. Finally, there’s the Frangieh type, who always – always – stands with the Muslim ally when things get messy. The last two years have been a perfect example: When the parliament’s term was extended in 2014, Frangieh was the only Christian leader -alongside Geagea – to approve of the extension. When Berri wanted to call for a legislative session last week, the only Christian leader who was willing to participate from the start was Frangieh. True, the FPM and the LF eventually participated in the legislation, but they were challenging to deal with. Frangieh also stood against Aoun several  times (although he was still supporting Aoun’s candidacy all the time): Note Frangieh’s criticism of (1) the Aounist 2015 demonstrations and (2) the latest legislative session which was the fruit of the FPM-LF cooperation.

In other words, and for Lebanon’s Muslim parties, Frangieh represents a rare type of politicians in Lebanon: Not only is he predictable, he’s also the better type of predictable: The one who will stand with you, not against you when things will matter. March 8’s problem with a consensual candidate coming from outside its ranks can be summed up by the example of Michel Sleiman, who stood with M14 in the second half of his term. True, the commander of the army might be the strongest consensual candidate right now, but Hezbollah and Amal need a politician they can trust, and Frangieh fits in that role perfectly. On the other hand, Frangieh is by far the most pro-Syrian Christian leader, which raises the ultimate question on how M14 might bring him into the presidential palace. Scroll up, and read quote number (6). That’s the FM’s way of saying that they might accept him as a candidate in exchange of a compromise: A staunchly M8 president means that the prime minister must be staunchly M14, which puts Hariri, the leader of M14, as the only candidate for the premiership. A staunchly M8 president also means that there would be a slight M14 counterbalance force in the government, hence guaranteeing M14 a majority (or at least the half – like in 2009) of the seats in the executive power. The only piece of the puzzle that remains is the electoral law, and it could be solved soon: There’s a committee in parliament that has been recently tasked with drafting it – the irony is that Geagea and Aoun were the ones that asked for it in exchange of their participation in this month’s legislative session, not realizing that they were unknowingly boosting Frangieh’s chances in the presidential war.

The Frangieh-Aoun conundrum

In 2013, Frangieh warned of a presidential vacuum as the conflict over Syria continues and suggested that Lebanon adopts the 50 percent plus one vote formula to secure the office. That (very dangerous political statement) meant that Frangieh was not only a natural presidential candidate (by being one of the Maronite Four), but that he was also somehow able to secure more that half of the parliament’s votes. Lebanon did not overthink that sentence back then, but since March 8 have less than the half of the seats, that was a clear sign that Frangieh had the support of the centrists (but probably under their terms – there was a different context back then, Sleiman was still in Baabda, there was a governmental vacancy and there were high tensions between M14 and M8).

Although Frangieh’s name was always on the table, he kept on denying that he was March 8’s first candidate for the elections. Aoun had the seniority, the bigger party in the coalition, and the official support of his allies. Every time he was approached on the subject, Frangieh insisted that he would run as M8’s candidate only if Aoun withdrew. Aoun’s candidacy was most likely doomed to fail, and Frangieh knew that standing against the candidacy of the president of his bloc and the leader of the biggest Christian party early on would turn M8 against him, perturb his alliance with the FPM, and discredit him within M14. His biggest ally was and still is time: The more the vacancy persists, the more his M8 allies would start looking – under pressure from M14 – for a candidate other than Aoun that might be accepted by M14. That moment seems to have arrived this week (But then again, we also thought that it had arrived in 2014 😛 ). The more Frangieh says he’s with Aoun, the more Aoun would be eventually forced to endorse him as his alternative/protégé, which explains why – even as the whole country speculates that Sleiman Frangieh has become the prime presidential candidate – Frangieh’s man in the cabinet (culture minister Rony Araiji)  still confirms that Aoun is still M8’s candidate.

The golden question: Why Frangieh is so important to M14

I explained it last year (when we had the rumors that M14 was about to endorse Frangieh), and I’ll explain it again: If March 14 endorses Frangieh, it would be highly tempting for Hezbollah and Frangieh to abandon the Aoun campaign. For Hezbollah, Aoun is silver but Frangieh is gold. Frangieh – unlike Aoun who has 18 MPs representing solely the FPM – doesn’t have a big bloc (4 MPs, including himself and Emile Rahme who is much more pro-Hezbollah than he is pro-Frangieh). Frangieh also has a limited electorate that he can rely on. And by limited, I mean it in a geographical, demographic, and sectarian way. Most (If not all) of Frangieh’s popular base is Christian, mostly Maronite, from the Zgharta Caza (Which is one of the smallest in terms of parliamentary representation with 3 MPs) and some of the surrounding villages in Koura. Frangieh doesn’t have foothold outside the North, belongs to a feudal family – and most importantly – faces continuous competition from other renowned political families established in Zgharta (Such as the Mouawads). In other words, Frangieh is too weak and can be manipulated by Hezbollah / Future Movement while Aoun (as a comparison) is much, much harder to keep under control. If Aoun switches sides, his ~ 22/23 MPs would be enough to change the status quo and throw a party outside the cabinet – be it Hezbollah, or even the FM. Frangieh can’t do anything with his 3 MPs (Yes, 3, because once he’s elected he loses his seat 😛 – And it’s actually 2 since you can’t really count Rahme as a loyalist). Frangieh won’t have his own base in the parliament to rely on, which means that he will fully be dependent on Hezbollah or the FM in everything concerning the legislation. Even if Frangieh wants to call for demonstrations, it wouldn’t have any impact unless Hezbollah joins him. Aoun wouldn’t need Hezbollah at all on the popular level (the 2015 summer demonstrations prove it) –  in fact it would hurt him since the counter-propaganda would make it look as if his supporters aren’t Christian – making him an “illegitimate” Christian president. Frangieh is also a lot more pro-Syrian than Aoun is, and the Frangiehs have historical family ties with the Assad family that are almost 50 years old. Which means that even if every single MP in M14 endorses Frangieh, he would always be a friend of Syria – and thus closer to Hezbollah. Aoun, on the other hand, is a lot more unreliable so he might be a pain in the ass in case he decides to switch sides or go against the Syrian regime.

La morale: If you’re Hezbollah, and have to choose between Frangieh and Aoun, you’ll choose Frangieh every time. Every time.

Le piège (sowing discontent level: Future Movement)

If the FM allows and even supports the election of Frangieh, it would have given Hezbollah its golden candidate. It would have also looked like it would have won the elections, since it was the one who proposed Frangieh’s name first. The only problem here is that for Hezbollah, it would mean abandoning its now declared candidacy of Aoun or at the very least putting M8’s biggest two Christian parties, the FPM and the Marada, in direct confrontation. It would also mean that Nabih Berri’s opinion would be marginalized, and that the FPM would probably exit the March 8 alliance (and perhaps join a common Christian Front with the LF/Kaaeb who should also be in theory pissed because of the Frangieh election). In other words, Hezbollah would have won the presidency, but would’ve lost the integrity of the March 8 coalition. What’s the point of having a 100% loyal president if you can’t even influence 15% of the MPs when you want to form the government or vote for laws?

Hezbollah had a plan: Support Aoun till the end, and eventually settle – with Aoun’s blessing – on a non “Maronite Four” consensual candidate that has a friendly attitude towards Hezbollah, such as LAF commander Jean Kahwaji. Kahwaji’s election would have also been part of a bigger deal that should have been even more rewarding to the M8 alliance.

The only way for Hezbollah to keep the M8 coalition alive and make way for Frangieh would be if Aoun endorses him at the same time as M14 gives its green light. And that was what Frangieh – by his relentless support to the Aoun candidacy – has been doing for the past 2 years. Aoun had said many times that he would support Frangieh, but now things are starting to get serious, and an official stance from the FPM is still required to go forward with such a settlement.

As one of the blog’s readers suggested on twitter, the Frangieh scenario might in fact be back in play. We’ll have to wait and see…

550 days since the 25th of May. 386 days since the 5th of November.

Legislation of Necessity and the Excellent Bait

Aoun Geagea

Yesterday, we were on the verge of a Christian-Muslim confrontation in parliament. For the first time in Lebanon’s modern history, Lebanon’s biggest three Christian parties in the parliament were going to stick together on an important matter: Boycotting legislative sessions in the absence of  a president in power. Within  days, the Sunni-Shia (or Future Movement – Hezbollah) rivalry in the country was replaced with a Christian-Muslim one, bringing back the memories of the civil war.

But today is a different day: The FPM, LF and FM just made a deal to eventually participate in tomorrow’s legislative session. Welcome to the incredible world of Lebanese politics.

The bait worked…

Nabih Berri gambled and won. In order to secure the legitimacy and quorum for his “legislation of necessity”, the speaker tried to lure the Christian parties by adding to the agenda a draft law that would grant citizenship to the descendants of Lebanese expatriates. For ages, that was one of the main requests of the Christian parties (they believe that most of the expatriates are Christians which would strengthen their position ahead of parliamentary elections). But the Christian parties  (until today – November 11) were still planning on boycotting the session despite Berri’s “bait”, each for its own reason:

For the LF and the Kataeb, boycotting the legislative session means that they’re pissing off the leadership of the March 8 alliance and that they too – and not only the FPM – are ready to stand up for Christian rights (= the priority of electing a Christian president before legislating in this case).

For the FPM, their boycott of the session is probably a mini-retaliation on Berri for letting the extension of Kahwagi in the army command pass and for not standing with them on the Chamel Roukoz issue. Revenge is a dish best served cold.

But in the end, the FPM and the LF eventually decided to show up on Thursday’s session, probably because the speaker wasn’t intending on adjourning the legislative session and because the Muslim parties were going to participate in it despite the Christian uproar. The Christian parties – probably after working things out with the FM (The FM and the FPM all by themselves could form a parliamentary majority which means that the citizenship law would probably pass) – eventually decided to take advantage of the presidential vacancy and get a pro-Christian law in exchange of securing the legitimacy of the legislative session. It’s a practical deal: Berri’s session doesn’t get too questioned in terms of legitimacy (imagine laws passing in the absence of 2/3 of the Christian MPs and a Christian president), and in exchange, the two major Christian parties (the LF and the FPM) send a message of pseudo-Christian unity while strengthening their position ahead of possible parliamentary elections. If the Christians would have planned on continuing their boycott, the session would have probably happened anyway and then the Christian parties would have to confront their Muslim allies and explain themselves in front of their electorates on how they let their allies bypass them on such important decisions. Getting a law granting citizenship to the descendants of Lebanese expatriates via a deal is the easier/smarter solution for both the LF and the FPM, especially since the Muslim parties won’t oppose them because of the presidential vacancy which puts them in a stronger position. In other words, the FM, PSP, Hezbollah and Amal were successfully blackmailed by the LF and the FPM after trying to blackmail them.

…And everyone won..

By striking the deal with the FM, the FPM managed to send a message to its Muslim M8 allies that if they aren’t going to stand with them in the future on important matters (like the Roukoz crisis), a rapprochement with the FM isn’t out of the question. It’s also a mini-humiliation to the speaker since the agreement is being circulated by the media as an FPM-FM-LF deal that wasn’t sponsored by the speaker .

For the LF, the deal puts them in the middle (since they were the ones who brokered the deal), and finally gives purpose to the FPM-LF declaration of intent. For the first time since they exited the executive power in 2011, the Lebanese Forces seem to have a role, and it’s an important one. “We passed the most important law for the Christians” will be used before the parliamentary elections (I’ll remind you when it happens).

For the Kataeb, they send a clear message that they’re the only ones who care about the constitution and the Christian rights since they refused to compromise, although they suffer a mini-defeat by being abandoned/ignored – for the millionth time – by the LF-FPM duo. More than ever, the May 2015 declaration of intent seems to be directed at thwarting the slow but steady rise of the Sami Gemayel’s Kataeb.

Berri eventually wins since his plan on holding the legislative session eventually went through.

…Except the Constitution. The only loser seems to be the Lebanese constitution

Have you met article 75?

The Chamber meeting to elect the President of the Republic shall be considered an electoral body and not a legislative assembly. It must proceed immediately, without discussion of any other act, to elect the Head of the State.

But then again, it seems that no one cares.

Maneuvers, maneuvers.

536 days sincwe the 25th of May. 372 days since the 5th of November. 82 days since the 22nd of August.

Legislation of Necessity and a Christian Boycott

How the parliament looked like before the war. Found on the internet.

How the parliament looked like before the war. Found on the internet.

The Chamber meeting to elect the President of the Republic shall be considered an electoral body and not a legislative assembly. It must proceed immediately, without discussion of any other act, to elect the Head of the State.

Lebanon, meet article 75 of the Lebanese Constitution. Article 75 of the Lebanese constitution, meet Lebanon. For this week, the parliament of Lebanon is answering the call of its speaker and is meeting – in the middle of a presidential vacancy – in order to legislate.

It is not the first time something like that happens. On the 5th of November 2014, the Lebanese parliament legislated and extended its own term. As if meeting to legislate wasn’t by itself contradictory to article 75 of the constitution (You really don’t have to be an expert to see that), the constitutional council considered that the extension law was unconstitutional. In other words, it’s like telling a little kid that he can’t eat pizza and that he can’t eat in his room, and the little kid proceeds to eat a pizza, in his room. And since the kid wasn’t grounded, he plans on eating the whole kitchen this week (38 draft laws are listed on the agenda of the Thursday and Friday sessions).

What is a priority?

For the past year, the Lebanese political system became a vicious circle. Most of the parties in power (except the FPM) are asking for the election of a president before early parliamentary elections. The FPM (as well as the protesters) have asked for early parliamentary elections before the presidential elections. For the FPM, it’s because they don’t have the majority necessary to elect Aoun, and for the Hirak (the Lebanese protests movement), it’s because the Lebanese parliament is a de facto unconstitutional non-elected one that doesn’t have the legitimacy to elect a president who will rule for 6 years. Now, once this debate is solved, and that all of Lebanon’s people and politicians agree on the identity of the priority (good luck), another problem arises: All of Lebanon’s politicians say that the current electoral law is bad, yet cannot agree on an alternative one. To make things even worse, internal struggles between different parties in the government have left Lebanon drowning in a garbage crisis since July. Even after four months of protests and outrage, there is still no solution in sight as the bickering in the cabinet continues.

To sum things up, Lebanon’s current political crisis is caused by the disagreement of the politicians on the timing of the parliamentary elections, the timing of the presidential elections, the electoral law, the name of the president, and on the way things work within the cabinet. That was until last week. This week, things become a bit more complicated: There’s a disagreement on a parliamentary session too. Is it a priority? What does the word “priority” mean in Lebanon anyway?

Muslim vs Christian

For the first time since the ice age, the biggest three Christian parties in the Lebanese parliament are sticking together. The Lebanese Forces, the Kataeb and the Free Patriotic Movement say that what Berri calls “legislation of necessity” isn’t the priority. The Christian parties consider the election of the president to be the first and foremost priority, and if the parliament should convene, it’s in order to elect a president (Ironically, the FPM are the ones denying quorum in the presidential elections). It’s for obvious reasons: The Christian parties want to keep the presidential elections alive, especially that the main candidates are current/former leaders of the FPM, LF and Kataeb. They consider that legislating in the absence of the president is considered to be unconstitutional, although all of those parties accepted ( = They still consider their MPs to be MPs) the results of a previous legislation in the absence of the president (the extension law of November 5, 2014)  even if they boycotted the session. The FPM and the LF have said that they would participate in case the electoral law would be on the agenda. This more friendly approach than the Kataeb’s absolute boycott stance is probably due to the fact that the presidential front-runners of M8 and M14 are still Aoun and Geagea.

But forget about being friendly right now. Once the main three Christian parties in parliament – they account to approximately the two thirds of the Christian seats –  boycott the session, a much bigger problem will arise: The Lebanese Muslim parties – planning on participating in the legislative sessions – will be (more or less) legislating in the absence of “Christian legitimacy”, which would permit the Christian parties to use March 8’s weapon of 2006: A vague constitutional principle from the preamble stipulating that There shall be no constitutional legitimacy for any authority which contradicts the ‘pact of mutual existence. Hezbollah used it to combat the Siniora government (whose Shia ministers all resigned) almost a decade ago, and almost anyone who claims to represent a sect can use it to veto anything. Another thing that the Christians parties and their electorate fear the most about legislating in the absence of a president is the idea of passing laws without having the highest Christian civil servant in power. True, the president doesn’t have a lot of say in the post-Taef era, but he can still challenge laws via the constitutional council or maneuver via his cabinet share (or via other ways). For the Christians parties (and electorate), passing laws without the signature of the Christian president is very scary.

In other words, all the Christian parties – in a historic moment – are joining up together to play the Christian sectarian card against their Muslim allies. That is a huge precedent in the modern history of Lebanon. And what is even more dangerous is that their Muslim allies seem not to care about this move, which might eventually lead in the future to a Christian-Muslim clash transcending the M8-M14 rivalry. You know, because Lebanon needs even more problems.

Revenge is a dish best served cold

Among the 38 draft laws on the table this week is a proposal that is supposed to lure the Christian parties and push them to take part in the legislative sessions: A draft law that would grant citizenship to the descendants of Lebanese expatriates. For ages, that was one of the main requests of the Christian parties (they believe that most of the expatriates are Christians which would strengthen their position ahead of parliamentary elections). So why aren’t the Christian parties participating?

For the LF and the Kataeb, boycotting the legislative session means that they’re pissing off the leadership of the March 8 alliance and that they too – and not only the FPM – are ready to stand up for Christian rights (= the priority of electing a Christian president before legislating in this case).

For the FPM, their boycott of the session is probably a mini-retaliation on Berri for letting the extension of Kahwagi in the army command pass and for not standing with them on the Chamel Roukoz issue. Revenge is a dish best served cold.

So as Lebanon’s Christian parties boycott a legislative session and as the Muslim parties say that the boycott doesn’t make the session any less legitimate, here’s a little lovely reminder: We still don’t have a president (and if we had one, we wouldn’t be discussing the pros and cons of legislating in the absence of a president).

535 days sincwe the 25th of May. 371 days since the 5th of November. 81 days since the 22nd of August.

Chamel Roukoz and a Struggling Lebanese Government

Chamel Roukoz. the newcomer to Lebanon's crowded political arena

Chamel Roukoz, the latest newcomer to Lebanon’s already crowded political arena

This is the 14th post in a series of monthly posts covering the presidential elections. This post is about the months of August, September and October 2015.

If I haven’t written any monthly analysis post since July 2015, it’s for a reason: In the summer of 2015, Lebanese citizens decided to protest and ask for their rights. The parliament was unconstitutional, parliamentary elections had been cancelled twice, presidential elections had been postponed for lack of quorum for the past year, and the government was an epic failure. Lebanon was arguably facing one of the biggest refugees crisis since World War II, and as if the electricity and water shortages and the corruption weren’t enough, a new garbage crisis had become unbearable. And what was the cabinet fighting (and in a way, still fighting) about? If Michel Aoun’s son-in-law was going to become commander of the army or not. BECAUSE PRIORITIES. There was nothing to analyze there. September 2015 was almost the same, with the government not responding to the basic protest demands (such as an environmentally friendly trash solution) being the extra cherry on the top.

But this month was (politically speaking) awesome. Forget for a moment that there is a protest movement in Beirut today. Sit back and relax. It’s time to enjoy the complexity of Lebanon’s politics.

Ending the war for Chamel Roukoz

Perhaps the most important events these past few weeks were the ones related to Michel Aoun’s sons-in-law, Chamel Roukoz – the commander of the Lebanese Army’s special forces – and Gebran Bassil. For Roukoz, the matter might seem at first a bit complicated, but it’s actually quite simple: Aoun wanted to appoint Roukoz as commander of the army when LAF commander Kahwagi’s term was about to expire. At some point, there were rumors that Aoun would be ready to give up his presidential candidacy and discuss a consensual presidential candidate in case Roukoz would have been made as commander. The fact that Kahwagi was – and still is – the strongest consensual candidate out there (Lebanon’s last two presidents have been army commanders) only made the possibility of a deal more likely: (1) Kahwagi becomes president, (2) a vacancy happens in the army command, (3) Roukoz becomes commander of the army. Even some rival parties opposing Aoun’s FPM indirectly hinted about the possibility of a Roukoz-Kahwagi deal. Yet today, that very deal is history. At the time, the FPM felt that it had the upper hand: It could have kept blocking the presidential elections forever, and at the same time, the government wouldn’t have dared to keep Kahwagi for another year without consensus on the extension of his term, especially since Aoun had been playing the sectarian card and calling for “Christian rights” for some time now. At least that’s what the Aounists thought.

Yet motivated by an indirect green light by Berri and an absence of veto from Hezbollah (probably in order to avoid an unnecessary – especially in the current circumstances – political clash with an army command the party of God has no problem with), M14 responded to Aoun’s maneuvering by extending Kahwagi’s term. It was a clear message to Aoun that M14 weren’t going to succumb to his blackmail in the cabinet, that the FPM would only be awarded the army command in case they halt their presidential quest, and that the FPM would not see Roukoz appointed as commander without something else in exchange. M14 was trying to force the deal on Aoun: By then, the only way through for Roukoz was by vacating the army command and the fastest way to vacate the army command was by electing the commander president.

The FPM saw it as a declaration of war and escalated their discourse while calling for protests in the name of Christian rights (For the FPM, that meant electing Aoun as president and appointing his son-in-law as commander).  When it was finally clear to everyone that Berri doesn’t care about the FPM interests in the army, that Hezbollah had bigger problems than a local feud about two generals, and that Aoun had no intentions of giving up the presidency for the army command, Roukoz – who had reached the age of retirement – did not see his term as commando regiment commander extended. In the  early days of October even potential compromises on keeping the status-quo in the army were dismissed. On the 15th of October 2015, only days after an FPM rally in Baabda, and weeks after another FPM rally in which Gebran Bassil was introduced as the new FPM chief, Chamel Roukoz spoke to a group of protesters that gathered  to support him at a rally and told them that he “was promoted to the rank of Lebanese citizen“. Congratulations, Lebanese citizens: Your politics just became slightly more complicated.

Divide and conquer

Rewind four months. By June, the FPM had  managed to maximize their dominance in Lebanese politics: The Lebanese Forces gave them the Christian upper hand when Geagea signed the declaration of intent in Rabieh, and the Kataeb, who had just finished a transfer of powers, were isolated by their exclusion from the declaration of intent talks and were in no postion to compete. The FPM had only one head, its second-in-command was the no.2 in the cabinet, and it was fighting to control the army command and the presidency.

Now the FPM has a godfather (Aoun), a president (Bassil), two vice presidents, an isolated nephew (Alain Aoun), a son-in-law who might as well be more popular than all of the above, and currently looks like a Neapolitan mafia (the amount of sons-in-law in the party is too damn high) where no one knows who’s in charge. For the FPM, October 2015 was one of the worst months since the 2009 elections: A potential negotiation card  for the presidency was lost, the war they had started in the cabinet ended in a humiliating defeat, a key asset in a key institution (army) was lost, the FPM’s most popular / influential ally in the Bekaa – Elias Skaff –  passed away last week leaving a vacancy that other parties in Lebanon’s west could quickly fill – especially that Skaff’s sons are young, and that Skaff himself had been already outside power for too long (6 years is huge for politician who served as an MP from 1992 till 2009). Elias Skaff had distanced himself from the FPM since the 2009 elections, but then again, he was the only local ally the FPM could have reached out to in the Bekaa before the upcoming parliamentary elections. To make things worse, instead of figuring things out in the summertime internal elections, the FPM is now in a pre-chaotic state. Who gives the orders in the FPM? Aoun? Bassil? Who does the FPM answer to? Bassil? Aoun? What to do with Roukoz? Bring him in since he’s too popular? (Or keep him outside since he’s too popular?) Can the FPM nominate Roukoz instead of Aoun to the presidency? What would that make of Bassil? These are dangerous times for the FPM. They are losing to M14, losing support within M8, losing to rival Christian parties, and – most importantly – facing the biggest administrative crisis in the history of the party (and they’re in denial about it). The pro-Roukoz protests happened way too early after his retirement, and that means that the former commander of the maghaweer might be onto something which would pose a threat to Bassil’s already weak fan base. Even the rumors – saying that Roukoz might be appointed as Lebanon’s ambassador in France – hint at a potential Roukoz-Bassil political clash. And the best way for Aoun – and the FPM – to avoid that clash would be by separating both men by thousands of Kilometers until Gebran Bassil gains a bit more ground within the FPM. So to sum things up, M14 didn’t just humiliate the FPM. By refusing to keep Roukoz in the army and in the shadows of Lebanese politics, they gave the FPM the ingredients necessary to start a succession war.

Changing the discourse

Another interesting thing about the transfer of power within the FPM is the change of discourse. For years, the Aounists have talked in a secular and “anti-corruption” way. Now they no longer focus a lot on the corruption talk and instead take a more sectarian approach. Deep down, it’s a natural transition: They can’t really blame the parties in power for the corruption with the same intensity – especially since they have been in power more than any party for the past 7 years and that the new FPM president wasn’t even elected and isn’t exactly what you call a role-model for an anti-corruption discourse (M14 keep accusing him of corrupt measures during his time in government) – so they had to take the sectarian way (“Christian rights”) in order to counter the rising threats from the LF, the Kataeb and from the more popular underdogs within or even allied with the FPM. The shift, that slowly started around 2013 (remember the Orthodox gathering electoral law?) became the cornerstone of the FPM’s new political strategy. In the end, the fastest way to win the heart of your sect (and party) back is by boosting your supporters’ ego and telling them you’re here for them (and their rights). The whole “reforming the system and rooting out corruption from within” doesn’t work so much anymore, especially with the recent waves of anti-government protests.

Bring the government down (or not)

Anyway, enough of FPM politics for today. Time to focus on the recent dynamics of Lebanon’s cabinet crisis. The Lebanese cabinet is made up of most of Lebanon’s parties, and hence sums up the awkwardness of Lebanese politics:

(1) The FPM clearly isn’t planning on ending the boycott on the government that refuses to comply to their demands and that threw Roukoz outside.

(2) Marwan Hamade of the PSP and the FM’s highest ranking minister (interior, Machnouk) in the government threaten to bring the government down after criticizing and accusing M8 of obstructing the cabinet’s work.

Then, (3) Hezbollah, via Nasrallah, tells the FM that they’re too cool to care about the Mustaqbal maneuvers, and defends the premier while also sending the following message to M14: “if you want to leave, leave“(♫♫♫)

Then, (4) Jumblatt, fearing on his kingmaker role that he might lose in case the government falls (Michel Sleiman is no longer in power which – if the cabinet resigns – leaves him all by himself in the so-called “Lebanese center”) sends Abou Faour on the offensive to undermine Hamadeh’s stance.

Then, (5) THE KATAEB CRITICIZE THE PREMIER. I would like to note here that the Kataeb’s share in the cabinet is the one of the biggest (if not the biggest) share they have ever had in a government – especially for a 5 MPs party – so throwing it all on the prime minister can be compared to digging your own grave. Oh, and they also undermined the FM by hinting that Mustaqbal adopted their “M14-ish” line of thought, and not the other way around. In a parallel universe, that was the Kataeb’s way of saying to the Christian electorate that they care about their feelings too and that they – unlike Aoun – are ready to piss off the Muslim boss (in the name of “Christian rights”?). Beat that, FPM!

(Meanwhile, the Lebanese Forces have decided to leave politics and focus on drug awareness campaigns, because Lebanese Forces).

Finally, (6) the premier, who probably knows – like everyone else – that no one is ready to bring down a government in which they thrive on the status-quo, took it upon himself to end this “my dad is stronger than yours which is why I will bring the government down” discourse and indirectly told everyone that (his dad is Saeb Salim Salam which makes him stronger than everyone) if they won’t calm down and try (or at least pretend) to figure out how to solve the trash crisis, he will be the one who will bring down the government. That wasn’t the first or even second time he made such a resignation threat. Maybe third time’s the charm?

Welcome to Lebanon’s rejuvenated politics: As the FM and Hezbollah start another round of political clashes, Jumblatt and Berri are trying to keep the cabinet – under pressure from everyone in power and everyone outside power – from collapsing. On the other side of the political spectrum, in the Christian autonomous political kingdom where the sun and moon never meet, things are changing fast: The FPM is the new LF. The LF is the new Kataeb. The Kataeb are the new FPM. And most importantly, the FPM lost their war and now plan on moving on with two heads and a different discourse.

Time will tell if their strategy will work. But for now, enjoy the deadlock (and the big dumpster the world calls Lebanon).

520 days since the 25th of May. 355 days since the 5th of November.

How Lebanon’s Constitutional Council Shamed the Parliament

Protesters carry a sign ugring judges meeting at the Constitutional Council headquarters in Beirut to accept a challenge against Parliament's extension. (The Daily Star/Khalil Hassan)

Protesters carry a sign urging judges meeting at the Constitutional Council headquarters in Beirut to accept a challenge against Parliament’s extension. (The Daily Star/Khalil Hassan)

The Lebanese parliament that cancelled elections and extended its term twice has spent the past two months of protests trying to prove its legitimacy (instead of doing something else more useful like discussing a new electoral law or solving the trash crisis properly). Among the propaganda justifying the extension, the political class mentioned the absence of an alternative electoral law to the 2008 one, “exceptional circumstances”, presidential vacancy and safeguarding the national pact.

Well, guess what. In November 2014, and after some of the FPM MPs asked Lebanon’s constitutional council to review the parliamentary extension law, the council’s response was relatively violent. Aside from indirectly shaming the parliament and listing the huge amount of constitutional articles  that were violated because of the extension law – The preamble (several times) and articles 22, 24, 27, 41 – the constitutional council considered that:

  • The Lebanese parliament is unconstitutional. (“قانون التمديد المخالف للدستور“)
  • It is a fait accompli  parliament. (“يعتبر التمديد امرا واقعا“)
  • The 2 years 7 months period is unjustifiable. (“ان تمديد ولاية المجلس غير متناسية مع مقتضياته، وبما ان المدة الطويلة لا يمكن تبريرها بمعطيات آنية وراهنة، كما ان تبريرها باعتبارات مستقبلية او افتراضية لا يستقيم لا واقعا ولا قانونا“).
  • The parliamentary extension contradicts and is not justified by the national pact. (” لا يجوز التحجج بالميثاقية لتأجيل الانتخابات وتمديد ولاية المجلس، لان ذلك يؤدي الى تقويض الاسس التي قام عليها الميثاق الوطني، وبالتالي تقويض التعهدات الوطنية والنظام والدولة، “)
  • The parliamentary elections are not related to the presidential elections, and the vacancy in the presidency doesn’t justify the extension especially since it’s the parliament’s responsibility to elect a president.( “تمديد ولاية مجلس النواب لا يجوز ان تبرر بالشغور في سدة رئاسة الجمهورية، وبخاصة ان المسؤول عن هذا الشغور هو مجلس النواب نفسه،“)
  • Holding parliamentary elections is not related to the presence of a new electoral law.  (لا يجوز ربط اجراء الانتخابات النيابية بالتوافق على قانون انتخاب جديد او بالتوافق على اجرائها”)

In the end (and as expected), the FPM MPs didn’t resign and even kept on nurturing the presidential vacancy, and the constitutional council only criticized the law without stopping it.

Anyway, this document – taken from the official National News Agency – that wasn’t very publicized  at the time (for the obvious reasons) is here to remind everyone with one sentence: Our democracy was stolen, and the biggest proof is that our political class no longer abides by the constitution.

Take a look at the full text of the constitutional council’s decision (sorry, couldn’t find an English or even French version). I marked the worst violations in bold.

رقم المراجعة 6/2014

المستدعون: النواب السادة: ميشال عون – ادكار معلوف – ابراهيم كنعان – حكمت ديب – سيمون ابي رميا – نادي غاريوس – زياد اسود – فادي الاعور – نبيل نقولا – الان عون.

القانون المطلوب وقف العمل فيه وابطاله:

القانون المعجل النافذ حكما الرقم 16 تاريخ 11 تشرين الثاني 2014 والمنشور في العدد 48 من الجريدة الرسمية تاريخ 11/11/2014 والمتعلق بتمديد ولاية مجلس النواب.

ان المجلس الدستوري الملتئم في مقره بتاريخ 28/11/2014، برئاسة رئيسه عصام سليمان وحضور نائب الرئيس طارق زياده والاعضاء: احمد تقي الدين، انطوان مسره، انطوان خير، زغلول عطية، توفيق سوبره، سهيل عبد الصمد، صلاح مخيبر، ومحمد بسام مرتضى،

وعملا بالمادة 19 من الدستور،

وبعد الاطلاع على ملف المراجعة وسائر المستندات المرفقة بها، وعلى تقرير المقرر، المؤرخ في 19/11/2014،

وبما ان السادة النواب المذكورة اسماؤهم أعلاه تقدموا بمراجعة سجلت في قلم المجلس الدستوري بتاريخ 13/11/2014، ترمي الى الامور الاتية:

اولا: تعليق مفعول القانون المطعون فيه: يقضي القانون بتمديد ولاية مجلس النواب الحالي الى 20/6/2017، تلك الولاية التي سبق تمديدها بصورة استثنائية الى 20/11/2014 بالقانون رقم 246 تاريخ 31/5/2013 والمنشور في ملحق خاص من الجريدة الرسمية رقم 24 تاريخ 1/6/2013، ما من شأنه ان ينشىء ولاية جديدة كاملة لمجلس النواب بفعل التمديدين المذكورين.

– لم يتضمن التمديد الجديد اي اشارة الى طابعه الاستثنائي، على عكس ما ورد في صلب القانون الرقم 246/2013 والذي سبق الطعن به لدى المجلس الدستوري.

– من شأن تعليق مفعول القانون تمكين السلطات المختصة من اجراء العملية الانتخابية بالتاريخ المحدد بالمرسوم رقم 321 تاريخ 19/8/2014 (دعوة الهيئات الناخبة لانتخاب اعضاء مجلس النواب)، اي في 16/11/2014، وذلك قبل نهاية فترة التمديد الاول، بخاصة ان حددت وزارة الداخلية والبلديات موعدين لاقتراع المغتربين في الكويت واستراليا (سيدني/ مليورن)، تباعا في 7/11/2014 و 9/11/2014.

– ان تحقق واقعة اجراء الانتخابات النيابية في موعدها في لبنان ينفي طابع الاستثناء ومصلحة الدولة العليا والخطر الامني الداهم وما شابه من اسباب تم ايرادها في الاسباب الموجبة، ما يعني ان الاستحقاق الدستوري المفصلي قد جرى في موعده دون عوائق، فتتحقق الغاية الدستورية من الانتخاب، مع الاشارة الى رقابة المجلس الدستوري على صدقية اي انتخاب مطعون فيه.

ثانيا – ابطال القانون للاسباب التالية:

– مخالفة الفقرة (ب) من مقدمة الدستور (التزام لبنان الاعلام العالمي لشرعة حقوق الانسان والفقرة (ب) من المادة 25 من العهد الدولي الخاص بالحقوق المدنية والسياسية الصادر عن الامم المتحدة في 16/12/1966 والذي انضم لبنان اليه بالمرسوم رقم 3855 تاريخ 1/9/1972 (الاشتراك اقتراعا وترشيحا في انتخابات دورية صحيحة نزيهة تجري على اساس الاقتراع العام المتساوي السري وتضمن الاعراب الحر عن ارادة الناخبين)، وكذلك المادة 4 الفقرة (1) من العهد المذكور (في حالات الطوارىء الاستثنائية التي تهدد حياة الامة والمعلن قيامها رسميا، يجوز للدول الاطراف في هذا العهد ان تتخذ، في اضيق الحدود التي يتطلبها الوضع تدابير تتقيد بالالتزامات المترتبة عليها…، وكذلك الفقرة 3 (وجوب على اية دولة طرف في هذا العهد استخدمت حق عدم التقيد ان تعلم الدول الاطراف الاخرى فورا، عن طريق الامين العام للامم المتحدة بالاحكام التي لم تتقيد بها وبالاسباب التي دفعتها الى ذلك، وعليها، في التاريخ الذي تنهي فيه عدم التقيد، ان تعلمها بذلك مرة اخرى والطريق ذاته”.

– مخالفة المادة 21 (فقرة1) من الاعلان العالمي لحقوق الانسان (لكل فرد الحق في الاشتراك في ادارة الشؤون العامة لبلاده اما مباشرة واما بواسطة ممثلين يختارون اختيارا حرا (….) وارادة الشعب هي مصدر سلطة الحكومة، ويعبر عن هذه الارادة بانتخابات نزيهة دورية…”

– مخالفة الفقرة ج من مقدمة الدستور (لبنان جمهورية ديموقراطية برلمانية).

– مخالفة الفقرة (د) من مقدمة الدستور (الشعب مصدر السلطات وصاحب السيادة يمارسها عبر المؤسسات الدستورية)

– مخالفة الفقرة (هـ) من مقدمة الدستور (النظام قائم على مبدأ الفصل بين السلطات وتوازنها وتعاونها)..”

– مخالفة مبادىء وثيقة الوفاق الوطني التي استقى الدستور منها حرفيا مقدمته.

– مخالفة المادة 27 من الدستور (عضو مجلس النواب يمثل الامة جمعاء ولا يجوز ان تربط وكالته بقيد او شرط من قبل منتخبيه، ما يعني التقيد بأجل الوكالة اي في 20/6/2013 وتنتهي الوكالة بحلول الاجل اي في 20/6/2013 حسب المادة 808 من قانون الموجبات والعقود.

– مخالفة المادة 44 من الدستور التي يستفاد منها صراحة ان ولاية المجلس النيابي اربع سنوات وهذه الولاية عصية على الاستنساب.

– مخالفة المادة 32 من الدستور حول تخصيص جلسات المجلس النيابي بالبحث في الموازنة والتصويت عليها.

– مخالفة المادة 42 (تجري الانتخابات العامة لتجديد هيئة المجلس في خلال الستين يوما السابقة لانتهاء مدة النيابة)، مع العلم ان موعد اجراء الانتخابات العامة حدد في 16/11/2014 من السلطة المختصة ويشير هنا الطاعنون الى انه لا قيمة قانونية ملزمة لاي تعهد يرد في محضر الجلسة باجراء الانتخابات النيابية عند حلول استحقاقات دستورية اخرى او بمواعيد تسبق انتهاء الولاية الممددة تكرارا، ذلك ان العبرة والالزامية لما ورد في النص التشريعي.

– ولاية المجلس المحددة بقانون لا تعدل بقانون، اختصارا او تمديدا، في ضوء وجوب مراعاة القانون في هذه الحالة المبادىء العامة والاحكام الدستورية.

– ضرورة تفسير الاستثناء حصرا وبصورة ضيقة وفي الحالة الراهنة عدم توفر شروط الاستثناء والخطر الداهم خلافا للتفاصيل الواردة في الاسباب الموجبة.

– لا يشكل الفراغ القاتل، في رئاسة الجمهورية ذريعة للتمديد: وحتى اذا اتفق حصول خلاء الرئاسة ومجلس النواب منحل تدعي الهيئات الناخبة دون ابطاء لانتخاب مجلس جديد، على ما ورد في المادة 74 من الدستور، وصلاحيات رئيس الجمهورية تناط وكالة بمجلس الوزراء حسبما جاء في الطعن.

– مخالفة المادة 57 من الدستور في اصدار القانون حيث ان الرئيس الجمهورية سلطة محفوظة له، كما ورد في الطعن بطلب اعادة النظر في القانون.

– مخالفة المادة 19 من الدستور حول حق رئيس مجلس الوزراء المحفوظ له، كما جاء في الطعن، بمراجعة المجلس الدستوري (اقرار المجلس الدستوري رقم 1 تاريخ 6/5/2005 بالمراجعة رقم 12/205)، وورد في الطعن ان حق مراجعة المجلس الدستوري هو ايضا من الحقوق الضيقة بشخص رئيس الجمهورية، ذلك ان المادة 19 خصته بالتسمية، كما سواه، كمرجعية من المرجعيات التي يحق لها مراجعة المجلس الدستوري.

وبناء على ما تقدم،

اولا – في الشكل:
بما ان المراجعة، المقدمة من عشرة نواب، جاءت ضمن المهلة المحددة في الفقرة الاخيرة من المادة 19 من القانن رقم 250/1993 مستوفية جميع الشروط الشكلية فهي مقبولة شكلا.

ثانيا: في الاساس:

1 – في تعليق مفعول القانون المطعون فيه.

تدارس المجلس الدستوري طلب وقف العمل بالقانون المطعون فيه المبين في المراجعة، وذلك في جلسته المنعقدة يوم تقديمها بتاريخ 13/11/2014، ولم ير سببا للاستجابة الى هذا الطلب.

2 – في مخالفة القانون المطعون فيه المبادىء الواردة في مقدمة الدستور

بما ان مقدمة الدستور جزء لا يتجزأ من الدستور وبما ان مقدمة الدستور نصت على التزام لبنان بالاعلان العالمي لحقوق الانسان وبمواثيق الامم المتحدة، وعلى تجسيد الدولة المبادىء الواردة فيها في جميع الحقول والمجالات دون استثناء،

وبما ان المادة 21 من الاعلان العالمي لحقوق الانسان نصت على ارادة الشعب هي مصدر السلطات، يعبر عنها بانتخابات نزيهة دورية تجري على اساس الاقتراع السري وحرية التصويت،

وبما ان الاتفاقية الدولية بشأن الحقوق المدنية والسياسية، التي انضم اليها لبنان في العام 1972، نصت على ان لكل مواطن الحق والفرصة في ان ينتخب وينتخب في انتخابات دورية على اساس من المساواة،

وبما ان مبدأ دورية الانتخابات أكدته قرارات المجلس الدستوري وبخاصة القرار رقم 2/79 والقرار رقم 1/2013.

وبما ان مبدأ دورية الانتخاب مبدأ دستوري لارتباطه بمبدأ انبثاق السلطة من الشعب وخضوعها للمحاسبة في الانتخابات،

وبما ان المحاسبة في الانتخابات عنصر اساسي في الانظمة الديمقراطية، وقد نصت مقدمة الدستور على ان لبنان جمهورية ديمقراطية برلمانية، تقوم على احترام الحريات العامة، وفي طليعتها حرية الرأي والمعتقد وعلى العدالة والمساواة في الحقوق والواجبات بين جميع المواطنين دون تمايز او تفضيل.

وبما ان الانتخابات النيابية هي الوسيلة الاساسية لتحقيق الديمقراطية البرلمانية،

وبما ان الانتخابات تفسح في المجال امام المواطنين للتعبير عن ارادتهم في اختيار من يمثلهم.

وبما ان مقدمة الدستور نصت على ان الشعب مصدر السلطات وصاحب السيادة يمارسها عبر المؤسسات الدستورية.

وبما ان المجلس الدستوري اكد، في قراره رقم 1/2013، ان الانتخابات الحرة والزيهة هي الوسيلة الوحيدة لانبثاق السلطة من الشعب وهي اساس الديمقراطية البرلمانية.

وبما ان مبدأ التنافس في الانتخابات هو الاساس والقاعدة في الانظمة الديمقراطية وهو مبدأ له قيمة دستورية،

وبما ان المادتين 22 و24 من الدستور نصتا على ان مجلس النواب مؤلف من نواب منتخبين.

وبما ان مجلس النواب يمثل الشعب في ممارسة السلطة، ومنه تنبثق السلطة الاجرائية، وهو ينتخب رئيس الجمهورية،

وبما ان شرعية مجلس النواب هي اساس شرعية السلطات في الدولة.

وبما ان اساس شرعية مجلس النواب هو الانتخابات الحرة والنزيهة التي تجري في مواعيدها، ويعبر الشعب من خلالها عن ارادته ويحاسب من مثله في مجلس النواب، ويحدد خياراته ما يتطلب الالتزام الصارم بدورية الانتخاب والتقيد بمدة الوكالة النيابية،

وبما ان مقدمة الدستور نصت على ان التزام قائم على مبدأ الفصل بين السلطات وتوازنها وتعاونها،

وبما ان الالتزام بهذا المبدأ يقتضي تقيد كل من السلطات بالمدة الزمنية التي تمارس وظائفها في اطارها، اي تقيد مجلس النواب بمدة الوكالة النيابية، وتقيد الحكومة بالثقة الممنوحة لها من مجلس النواب وتقديم استقالتها عند حجب الثقة عنها،

وبما ان تمديد مدة الوكالة النيابية بقرار من مجلس النواب، في حين ان مدة ولاية الحكومة رهن بقرار منه ايضا، يؤدي الى الاخلال بالتوازن بين السلطتين الاشتراعية والاجرائية لصالح الاولى،

وبما ان الاخلال بالتوازن بين السلطات، على الشكل المبين أعلاه، يتعارض مع الدستور، ويؤدي الى الطعن في شرعية مجلس النواب في الفترة الممددة واستطرادا الطعن في شرعية كل ما يصدر عنه،

لذلك يتعارض تمديد ولاية مجلس النواب سنتين وسبعة اشعر، بعد ان مددت سابقا سنة وخمسة اشهر، مع الدستور من حيث المبدأ،

3 – في مخالفة المادة 27 من الدستور.

بما ان المادة 27 من الدستور نصت على ان عضو مجلس النواب يمثل الامة جمعاء ولا يجوز ان تربط وكالته بقيد او شرط من قبل منتخبيه،

وبما ان الوكالة النيابية غير مقيدة يمارس بموجبها النائب مهامه كما يرى مناسبا،

وبما ان عدم تقييد الوكالة يقتضي تحديد مدتها الزمنية,

وبما ان التوازن في الوكالة النيابية غير المقيدة قائم على عنصرين اساسيين: عدم تقييد الوكالة النيابية وترك النائب يتصرف وفق اقتناعاته اثناء ولايته من جهة وانتهاء الوكالة عند انتهاء الولاية والعودة الى الشعب، مصدر السلطات، يعبر عن ارادته في انتخابات جديدة من جهة اخرى،

وبما ان تمديد ولاية مجلس النواب بقرار منه يؤدي الى اخلال بالتوازن الذي قامت عليه الوكالة النيابية، ويتعارض بالتالي مع مفهوم الوكالة النيابية التي نصت عليه المادة 27 من الدستور،

وبما ان المجلس الدستوري سبق وابطل في قراره رقم 4/96 النص الذي جعل ولاية مجلس النواب اربع سنوات وثمانية اشهر لانه اخل بالقاعدة والعرف البرلماني المعمول به في لبنان،

وبما ان تمديد مدة الوكالة النيابية بعد اجراء الانتخابات، اخطر من تمديد الولاية في قانون الانتخابات قبل اجراء الانتخابات،

وبما ان المادة 44 من الدستور نصت على امكانية نزع الثقة من رئيس مجلس النواب ونائبه بعد عامين من انتخابهما عند بدء ولاية المجلس، ما قد يؤشر الى ان ولاية المجلس، وفق الدستور، محددة باربع سنوات،

وبما ان لبنان درج منذ زمن بعيد على تحديد ولاية المجلس بأربع سنوات، وهي مدة الوكالة النيابية،

لذلك تعارض تمديد ولاية المجلس مع الدستور من حيث المبدأ.

4- في مخالفة احكام المادة 32 من الدستور

بما ان المادة 32 من الدستور نصت على تخصيص جلسات المجلس النيابي في عقدها السنوي العادي الثاني للبحث في الموازنة والتصويت عليها قبل كل عمل آخر،

وبما ان هذا النص لم يأت امرا وليس بالتالي ملزما، بل يعطي افضلية وأرجحية لهذا العمل فيأتي في رأس جدول اعمال المجلس قبل اي عمل آخر، الا انه لا يمنع المجلس من التشريع في امور ضرورية وطارئة قبل بحث الموازنة،

وبما انه بالرجوع الى سائر مواد الدستور نجد ان بعضها رتب بطلانا على مخالفة النص كما في المادة 31 منه التي نصت على ان كل اجتماع يعقده المجلس في غير المواعيد القانونية يعد باطلا حكما ومخالفا للقانون، وكما في المادة 34 التي نصت على ان ” لا يكون اجتماع المجلس قانونيا ما لم تحضره الاكثرية من الاعضاء الذين يؤلفونه”.

كما ان المادة 78 من الدستور نص “اذا طرح على المجلس مشروع يتعلق بتعديل الدستور يجب عليه ان يثابر على المناقشة حتى التصويت عليه قبل اي عمل آخر، على انه لا يمكنه ان يجري مناقشة او ان يصوت الا على المواد والمسائل المحددة بصورة واضحة في المشروع”.

وبما ان هذا النص قد جاء بصيغة آمرة بقوله “يجب” واتبعها بصيغة اخرى “لا يمكنه” وهذه تمنع على المجلس صراحة البحث في ما هو خارج عن المشروع،

وبما ان هذه العبارات الآمرة والجازمة والملزمة وردت في مواد كثيرة من الدستور (المواد 38 و40 و47 و79 و84 و85 و88 و89) الا انها لم ترد في نص المادة 32 من الدستور، الامر الذي يدل بوضوح ان احكام المادة 32 غير ملزمة بل هي تعطي افضلية وأرجحية لبحث الموازنة دون ان ترتب اي ابطال او مخالفة موجبة لابطال اي عمل تشريعي يتم قبل بحث الموازنة،

لذلك ينبغي رد هذا السبب من اسباب الطعن.

5- في مخالفة المادة 57 من الدستور.

بما ان المادة 57 من الدستور منحت رئيس الجمهورية حق طلب اعادة النظر في القانون مرة واحدة ضمن المهلة المحددة لاصداره ولا يجوز ان يرفض طلبه،

وبما ان المادة نفسها نصت على انه في حال انقضاء المهلة دون اصدار القانون او اعادته يعتبر القانون نافذا حكما ووجب نشره،

وبما ان المادة 62 من الدستور اناطت صلاحيات رئيس الجمهورية وكالة بمجلس الوزراء في حال خلو سدة الرئاسة،

وبما ان القانون المطعون في دستوريته لم يصدره مجلس الوزراء الذي يمارس صلاحيات رئيس الجمهورية وكالة، ضمن المهلة المحددة وأصبح نافذا عند انتهاء هذه المهلة،

لذلك لم يخالف القانون المطعون في دستوريته المادة 57 من الدستور.

6- في الظروف الاستثنائية.
بما ان القانون المطعون في دستوريته نص في مادة وحيدة على ما يأتي: “تنتهي ولاية مجلس النواب الحالي بتاريخ 20 حزيران 2017″، ولم يأت على ذكر ظروف استثنائية، انما وردت الظروف الاستثنائية في الاسباب الموجبة.

وبما ان الظروف الاستثنائية هي ظروف شاذة خارقة تهدد السلامة العامة والامن والنظام العام في البلاد، ومن شأنها ربما ان تعرض كيان الامة للزوال،

وبما ان الظروف الاستثنائية تقتضي اتخاذ اجراءات استثنائية بغية الحفاظ على الانتظام العام الذي له قيمة دستورية،

وبما انه تنشأ بفعل الظروف الاستثنائية شرعية استثنائية غير منصوص عليها تحل محل الشرعية العادية، ما دامت هناك ظروف استثنائية،

وبما انه في الظروف الاستثنائية، الناجمة عن احداث خطيرة جدا وغير متوقعة، يجوز للمشترع، ضمن حدود معينة، ان يخرج عن احكام الدستور والمبادىء الدستورية او القواعد ذات القيمة الدستورية، وذلك حفاظا على الانتظام العام واستمرارية المرافق العامة، وصونا لمصالح البلاد العليا، وهذا ما اكدت عليه قرارات المجلس الدستوري،

وبما ان تطبيق نظرية الظروف الاستثنائية يتطلب أسبابا موضوعية حقيقية وظاهرة، تحول دون تأمين الانتظام العام من خلال تطبيق القوانين العادية،

وبما ان الظروف الاستثنائية تتحدد في المكان والزمان،

وبما انه ينبغي ان تكون حالة الضرورة مقيدة في حدود المدة الزمنية التي ترتبط بتلك الحالة،

وبما انه اذا كان يعود للمشترع ان يقدر وجود ظروف استثنائية تستدعي منه سن قوانين لا تتوافق واحكام الدستور، في حدود المدة التي تستوجبها هذه الظروف، فان ممارسته لهذا الحق تبقى خاضعة لرقابة المجلس الدستوري،

وبما انه اذا توافرت الظروف الاستثنائية حاليا في بعض المناطق اللبنانية، وفق تصريحات وزير الداخلية، فلا يمكن التكهن باستمرارها لفترة زمنية طويلة تمتد سنتين وسبعة اشهر،

وبما ان الظروف الاستثنائية قد تبرر تأجيل اجراء الانتخابات في موعدها وقبل انتهاء ولاية المجلس، في 20/11/2014، وهي ولاية ممدة سابقا، غير انها لا تبرر تمديد ولاية المجلس مجددا سنتين وسبعة اشهر،

وبما ان تمديد ولاية المجلس غير متناسية مع مقتضياته، وبما ان المدة الطويلة لا يمكن تبريرها بمعطيات آنية وراهنة، كما ان تبريرها باعتبارات مستقبلية او افتراضية لا يستقيم لا واقعا ولا قانونا،

وبما ان الاجراءات الاستثنائية تكون محدودة في الزمان من اجل الحفاظ على الانتظام العام،

وبما ان تقصير مدة التمديد تخرج عن صلاحيات المجلس الدستوري الذي لا يستطيع يحل نفسه محل مجلس النواب،

وبما ان اجراء الانتخابات النيابية دوريا هو من اركان الانتظام العام، ولا يجوز بالتالي التفريط بها بحجة الظروف الاستثنائية،

لذلك تبرر الظروف الاستثنائية تأجيل الانتخابات لمدة محدودة تزول معها الظروف الاستثنائية غير انها لا تبرر تمديد ولاية مجلس النواب سنتين وسبعة اشهر.

7- في ربط الانتخابات بالتوافق على اجرائها.

بما انه ظهر في محضر الجلسة التي أقر فيها التمديد، كما ظهر في تصريحات النواب، ان من مبررات التمديد التوافق على قانون انتخاب جديد،

وبما ان الانتخابات النيابية استحقاق دستوري يجب اجراؤه في موعده،

وبما انه لا يجوز ربط اجراء الانتخابات النيابية بالتوافق على قانون انتخاب جديد،

وبما ان الميثاق الوطني هو في صلب الدستور، والميثاقية تقتضي الالتزام بالدستور واجراء الاستحقاقات الانتخابية في مواعيدها،

وبما انه لا يجوز التحجج بالميثاقية لتأجيل الانتخابات وتمديد ولاية المجلس، لان ذلك يؤدي الى تقويض الاسس التي قام عليها الميثاق الوطني، وبالتالي تقويض التعهدات الوطنية والنظام والدولة،

لذلك لا يجوز ربط اجراء الانتخابات النيابية بالتوافق على قانون انتخاب جديد او بالتوافق على اجرائها.

8- في تعطيل المؤسسات الدستورية

بما ان انتظام أداء المؤسسات الدستورية هو اساس الانتظام العام في الدولة،

وبما ان انتظام اداء المؤسسات الدستورية يقتضي قيام كل مؤسسة دستورية، ودون ابطاء، بالمهام المناطة بها، ضمن الصلاحيات المعطاة لها، وفي اطار القواعد والمبادىء التي نص عليها الدستور،

وبما ان الظروف الاستثنائية تقتضي قيام المؤسسات الدستورية بواجبها ومضاعفة نشاطها لمواجهة الظروف الاستثنائية والحفاظ على كيان الدولة ومصالحها العليا،

وبما ان الشغور في مؤسسة من المؤسسات الدستورية، وبخاصة رئاسة الجمهورية، يؤدي الى خلل في انتظام المؤسسات الدستورية جميعها، وبالتالي الى خلل في الانتظام العام،

وبما ان تمديد ولاية مجلس النواب لا يجوز ان تبرر بالشغور في سدة رئاسة الجمهورية، وبخاصة ان المسؤول عن هذا الشغور هو مجلس النواب نفسه،

وبما ان شغور سدة رئاسة الجمهورية واناطة صلاحيات رئيس الجمهورية وكالة بمجلس الوزراء ترك انعكاسات سلبية وبالغة الخطورة على اداء السلطة الاجرائية، وبالتالي على مؤسسات الدولة كافة،

وبما ان مجلس الوزراء لم يشكل الهيئة المشرفة على الانتخابات ولم يتخذ التدابير الضرورية لاجراء الانتخابات،

وبما ان تردي الاوضاع السياسية والامنية وشغور سدة رئاسة الجمهورية، قد يؤدي الى فراغ في السلطة الاشتراعية، في حال ابطال قانون تمديد ولاية مجلس النواب بعد ان انتهت هذه الولاية في 20/11/2014، ولم يعد بالامكان اعطاء مجلس النواب فرصة لتقصير مدة التمديد،

وبما ان الفراغ في المؤسسات الدستورية يتعارض والغاية التي وجد من اجلها الدستور، ويهدد النظام بالسقوط ويضع البلاد في المجهول،

وبما ان قانون تمديد ولاية مجلس النواب صدر قبل انتهاء الولاية بتسعة ايام فقط، وقدم الطعن في دستوريته قبل اسبوع من انتهاء الولاية، ما ادى الى تقليص الخيارات امام المجلس الدستوري الى حد كبير،

وبما ان ابطال قانون التمديد المخالف للدستور، في الوضع الراهن، قد يؤدي الى فراغ في السلطة الاشتراعية،يضاف الى الشغور في رئاسة الجمهورية، ما يتعارض جذريا والدستتور،

لذلك ومنعا لحدوث فراغ في مجلس النواب وقطع الطريق بالتالي على انتخاب رئيس للجمهورية، يعتبر التمديد امرا واقعا.

وبعد المداولة،

يؤكد المجلس الدستوري على الامور التالية:

1- ان دورية الانتخابات مبدأ دستوري لا يجوز المس به مطلقا.

2- ان ربط اجراء الانتخابات النيابية بالاتفاق على قانون انتخاب جديد، او بأي اعتبار آخر، عمل مخالف للدستور.

3- ان التدابير الاستثنائية ينبغي ان تقتصر على المدة التي توجد فيها ظروف استثنائية فقط.

4- اجراء الانتخابات النيابية فور انتهاء الظروف الاستثنائية وعدم انتظار انتهاء الولاية الممددة.

5- ان تعطيل المؤسسات الدستورية، وعلى رأسها رئاسة الجمهورية، انتهاك فاضح للدستور.

واستنادا الى الاسباب الواردة في الحيثيات،

يقرر المجلس الدستوري بالاجماع:

1- قبول المراجعة شكلا.

2- رد الطعن للحيلولة دون التمادي في حدوث الفراغ في المؤسسات الدستورية.

3- نشر هذا القرار في الجريدة الرسمية”.