Presidential Elections

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”.

A Tale of Two Burgers and Three Men

Image from December 2014. Change and Reform bloc MP Alain Aoun meets with Lebanese Army Commander Gen. Jean Kahwagi. (The Daily Star/Lebanese Army website, HO)

Image from December 2014. Change and Reform bloc MP Alain Aoun meets with Lebanese Army Commander Gen. Jean Kahwagi. (The Daily Star/Lebanese Army website, HO)

No words can describe how much these last three weeks were insane in Lebanese politics: As if the Aounist July protests weren’t enough, Lebanon suddenly woke up two weeks ago on threats of resignation from the premier, rumors of resignation of March 8 ministers from the cabinet, Aoun saying that he would vote for Frangieh (probably in order to contain Frangieh who has been criticizing his political overlord lately), Future officials attacking one another, the Kataeb criticizing everything anyone can think of, the Future Movement telling the Kataeb (and the FPMtwice (the second time was via MP Hout) that a federal system will never be implemented in Lebanon and March 8 blocking the cabinet’s policy-makingAll of that was accompanied by lots of trash-talking (Jumblatt making the issue sectarian was by far the most interesting headline) and Lebanese army billboards on the occasion of the 70th army day implying that the army was the Lebanese parties’ common denominator ( ≈ presidential campaign for the commander of the army ≈ Wallahi I’m consensual, vote for me).

The bomb

Last Thursday, it was announced that the defense minister had extended the term of the commander of the army, Jean Kahwagi. The decision was a major blow to Michel Aoun who has been seeking to appoint his son-in-law Chamel Roukoz as commander for years. When Kahwagi’s term was about to expire in September, Aoun saw it as an opportunity to both put Roukoz in charge instead and weaken Kahwagi, the main consensual presidential candidate who is  also rumored to be at the same time Hezbollah’s “hidden candidate“. In fact, since mid-May 2015, the FPM has been maneuvering over and over and over again in order to bring Roukoz to the army command without having to give anything in return. Last month tayyar.org even misquoted the constitution as part of their propaganda to secure both the presidency and the army command.

How it was made possible

In the past 10 years, decisions to bring governments down were taken for far simpler reasons: In 2006, March 8 wanted the blocking third. In 2010, Hezbollah didn’t want to fund the STL (that its government eventually ironically funded). In 2013, Mikati didn’t want to throw a general outside the ISF. If you think of it, the army command is as big a deal as all of those. So the million dollar question here is why haven’t the FPM ministers not resigned yet?

While the FPM ministers’ resignation seemed like the typical move, the fact that Aoun wasn’t on board with Berri lately (Berri lashed out at the FPM that same week, told us that he wouldn’t vote for Aoun in the presidential elections, that toppling the cabinet was a red line and that the government paralysis hurts citizens) meant that Amal’s 2.5 ministers wouldn’t resign along with the FPM officials. In other words, a Hezbollah-FPM double resignation wouldn’t have been enough to collapse the cabinet (you need at least 9 ministers) and we would have ended up with a cabinet with both Shia AND March 8 representation (the Amal ministers), which means that Hezbollah couldn’t have said that it was anti-constitutional like they did in 2006. Moreover, 80% of the government would have been either M14 or centrists. That means that an angry resignation move like this one cannot be supported by Hezbollah and will only throw Aoun outside a cabinet he has Gebran Bassil in it as number 2, ultimately weakening him before the internal FPM elections in September.  Things aren’t looking very good for Bassil and Alain Aoun has been talking too much for a regular MP as he prepares to confront Gebran Bassil in the FPM’s internal elections (really,  he has been talking too much).

So to sum things up, Berri’s genius declaration of war on the FPM gave Salam and the FM the green light to go through with their plans to extend the top security officials’ terms. And now both Salam and Kahwagi owe Amal.

A game-changer

The move to throw Roukoz outside the army command and isolate Aoun in the government was humiliating, but do not be mistaken: The Roukoz deal is not off the table. The March 14 alliance knows that if it desires to end the deadlock, it would have to give something to the March 8 alliance and the FPM in return. Before the Kahwagi extension, an opportunity to make a deal was made available: The cabinet would make Roukoz commander of the army, and in exchange, the FPM would make it easier to bring a consensual candidate into Baabda palace. Aoun however did not see an opportunity to make a deal but rather a chance at winning the army command for his son-in-law while continuing his push for the presidency. And after several weeks of stalemate and confrontation the Grand Serail, it was clear to almost everyone that a deal favorable to M14 ending the Aounist campaign for the presidency was not going to happen soon, which led to last week’s controversial decision to give Kahwagi one more year as commander of the army. While it wasn’t very explicit at first, the anti-Aoun maneuver in the cabinet is getting clearer by the day. This is not 1973 anymore and Aoun cannot simply ask the cabinet to dismiss a commander of the army and expect it to comply only because it would give him the upper hand in Lebanese politics. There is one, and only one (fast) way left for Aoun to vacate the army command before the summer of 2016 (when Kahwagi’s new term expires): Agree to make Kahwagi president, which would leave room in the army command to bring in Roukoz. Deep down, March 14’s maneuver of extending Kahwagi’s term wasn’t about ending any chance of making a deal with the FPM. It was actually their way of enforcing one.

We’re (not really) almost there

I do not always (nor do I like to) make predictions, but expect the March 14 politicians to start floating the name of Kahwagi as presidential candidate: His election would weaken the FPM (yet still give Aoun a half-victory via the Roukoz appointment) and at the same time please Hezbollah (since Kahwagi never really stood against the party of God during his stay). By being the ones suggesting the deal, March 14 would also look like the real victors. This is the kind of deal that makes everyone happy, and we all know what that means. If this was the presidential vacancy of November 2007 – May 2008, I’d say we’re somewhere around January (yalla, arrabit :-P). We have a rough idea of what’s going to happen with the presidency and the army command, yet we’re still in the blue on everything else (that was agreed upon in the Doha agreement back in 2007): We still need an agreement on an electoral law (good luck with that), a clear date for the general elections, a post-vacancy cabinet formula and last but not least a mini-road-map  to guide the government through the transitional period.

The FPM in denial

As Aoun heads towards the internal elections with weakness caused by his recent defeat in government, he knows that he still has the ultimate option, his plan A since May 2014 and now his plan B since August 2015: He could continue to block the presidential elections – where Berri’s cooperation matters not – while at the same time try one last time to mobilize the masses in the name of Christian rights. His latest move was saying that it was his efforts in 2004 – and not the assassination of Rafik Hariri in 2005 – that led to the Syrian withdrawal. Aoun – who now knows for sure that he can no longer trust the allies (a rebellious Berri and an overreaching Frangieh) of his ally – is taking his discourse to a whole new level. The war for Chamel Roukoz is becoming more and more desperate: (1) Aoun, in denial, said that he didn’t want Roukoz in first place (?!?!), (2) called for demonstrations (while defying Kahwagi and the army) to protest the non-appointment of Roukoz while his other son-in-law, Gebran Bassil, (3) literally said that the FPM “rejected dhimmitude and was fighting for the Christians of the world” (no comment).

Desperate times require desperate measures.

Two Burgers

The only thing hotter than Lebanon’s weather right now is its political tensions, and the only thing more rotten than Beirut’s streets right now is its deadlock: This is officially the longest presidential vacancy Lebanon has ever seen, the longest parliamentary term extension Lebanon has ever seen and the longest period of time without general elections since the Civil War. And August’s garbage crisis isn’t making things any easier.

Three men walk into a bar and ask for two burgers: a large one (with large fries, a Pepsi and a McFlurry) and a smaller one (with small fries only). The first man wants the large burger for himself and the smaller burger for the second man who happens to be his son-in-law, while the third man, currently savoring the small burger, wants to eat the larger one. The cherry (or in this case, bacon) on the top? No one has a clue how a burger is paid for.

Solve the burger riddle and you would have solved the longest deadlock Lebanon has ever seen.

(Meanwhile, everyone else is starving)

445 days since the 25th of May. 281 days since the 5th of November. Not that anyone cares anymore.

Aoun’s Jockeying

Michel Aoun

Free Patriotic Movement protests are just the latest of Michel Aoun’s tactics to secure the presidency and empower his party.

The following analysis was first published in Sada on July 28, 2015.

Following a political feud in the cabinet regarding the nomination of the next Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) commander, Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) leader Michel Aoun called for protests, and party supporters rallied in Beirut on July 9. The presidency, the most important Maronite-allocated post in Lebanese politics, has been vacant since May 2014, and the term of the LAF commander—another important Maronite post—expires in September. Although Aoun has framed the deadlock over both appointments as an assault on Christian rights, his call for protests is really a key gambit in his quest to empower the FPM and his allies within the party.

When the FPM and Lebanese Forces party signed their “declaration of intent” in June to elect a strong president, this gave Aoun the upper hand over other Christian parties. Because Chairman of the Lebanese Forces Samir Geagea visited Aoun in Rabieh to sign the declaration, he was branded the junior partner. The declaration—basically an agreement to agree on an agreement between the two parties—also preemptively ended any rising threat that any Kataeb party or Hezbollah–Future Movement (FM) presidential deal would exclude the FPM.

The Kataeb, distracted and vulnerable during the current transfer of power from party leader Amine Gemayel to his son Sami, is not in a position to threaten the FPM’s supremacy among the Christian electorate, which has become increasingly friendly to other members of the March 8 alliance as Hezbollah’s reputation as protector against the Islamic State grows. With two traditionally Maronite posts up for contention and three Christian parties in disarray (the FPM and the Kataeb are focused on internal organization, and the Lebanese Forces is weakened amid revelations that Geagea asked for Saudi financial support), Aoun’s call for protests and public mobilization seemed like a wise political gamble.

Had the FPM conceded the presidency in 2014 when the office had just been vacated, they would likely have only received an electoral law friendlier to the March 8 alliance and perhaps a better share in the next cabinet—and so had little reason to do so. But since May 2015, when the post of LAF commander came onto the negotiating table, the FPM has had the opportunity to win the best political deal on the two posts. Its position is strong enough that it could concede the presidency to March 14, if it so chose, in return for claiming the LAF command, the lesser of the two posts. They can alternately use their “blocking third” parliament veto powers on the presidential elections to gain concessions on a continued push for LAF command appointment. The March 8 alliance could also abandon their presidential ambitions in exchange for all three demands: a modified electoral law, the blocking third in the cabinet, and the army command. For the FPM, that also means the opportunity to empower Aoun’s popular potential successor, his son-in-law and current commander of the LAF Special Forces Chamel Roukoz, by making him commander of the army.

Most importantly, a tradeoff deal between the presidency and the army command post could make the FPM the strongest Christian player in politics, because the Future Movement would be conceding to the FPM as opposed to one of its own March 14 Christian allies like the Lebanese Forces or Kataeb party. Aoun and his supporters could use this political win to boost his standing before internal FPM elections in September. The two primary candidates seem to be Baabda MP Alain Aoun, Michel Aoun’s nephew, and Gebran Bassil, another son-in-law of Aoun’s and current minister of foreign affairs. There were rumors that Aoun might push for a consensus deal within the FPM by making one of the candidates president and the other vice president, but that remains to be seen.

If both candidates lock horns it might cause a major rift within the FPM, especially as the two are high-ranking politicians influential among the party’s electorate. Should Aoun fail to appoint Chamel Roukoz as commander of the army, it could create an atmosphere of failure ahead of the internal elections, possibly weaken Aoun and his favored candidates, and disrupt the transfer of power in the FPM. Hence, Aoun sought to use the July 9 demonstrations to pressure the cabinet into appointing Roukoz as soon as possible. The closer Aoun is to September, the more likely he will accept a presidential–army command power-sharing deal with March 14, in order to avoid any distractions ahead of the FPM elections. And this is likely why the FM is blocking any discussion about the army commander post until August.

According to the March 14 logic, if Aoun refuses to concede the presidency in exchange for the LAF command, the cabinet could proceed to appoint another LAF commander and deny Aoun the chance of appointing Roukoz for another few years. This would weaken Aoun before the internal elections and deprive him of the army command, while at the same time allowing March 14 to depict him as the man responsible for blocking the election of a president. For them, Aoun has to compromise or he’ll lose both posts.

By Aoun’s thinking, if he pressures the cabinet to appoint his son-in-law as commander of the army now, he won’t have to give up his presidential ambitions later, as a compromise deal over the presidency and LAF command post will no longer be on the table. The March 14 alliance would no longer be able to deny the FPM the LAF command, leaving the FPM little to lose if they keep pushing for the presidency. It would also weaken Aoun’s main rival for the presidency, Jean Kahwaji, whose presence in the army command remains his largest asset.

As such, Aoun is using every tactic to pressure the cabinet. He argued that Prime Minister Tammam Salam was abusing his powers when he refused to put the appointment of a new commander of the army on the cabinet’s agenda. Constitutionally speaking, the Sunni PM sets the agenda in the cabinet meetings (article 64), although the Maronite president is allowed to “present any urgent matter to the council of Ministers from outside the agenda” (article 53). In the absence of a president, Aoun took it upon himself to protect the Christian interests by proclaiming that the FPM—as the largest Christian party represented in the cabinet—is allowed to assume the president’s authority during the cabinet session. March 14 has responded by pointing out that Aoun is ultimately to blame because he is blocking the election of any non-Aoun president.

Aoun’s demonstrations also had a low turnout, and a confrontation between the FPM supporters and the army near the Grand Serail didn’t help. The next day, Aoun verbally attacked the army command over the incident, and while army commander Jean Kahwaji did not respond directly, an indirect response came from his son Joe on Twitter, pointing out the FPM’s double standards in praising General Roukoz when the FPM and the army are on the same page and criticizing Kahwaji when they aren’t.

So although the protests might appear as a wise political maneuver, they are a defeat for Aoun in the streets, the cabinet, and the institution over which he wants greater influence. Aoun is even losing ground within his bloc. One of his closest allies, Marada Movement leader Sleiman Frangieh, criticized Aoun’s political moves in the days following the protests, saying that he supported Aoun’s quest but disapproved of the means (the demonstrations). And although Hezbollah publicly stated that they stood with their March 8 Christian allies, the fact that they did not take part in the protests is telling. By refusing to make a popular move against the current commander of the army, they perhaps sought to save face with Kahwaji, who is also the strongest consensus presidential candidate. One thing is for sure: the FPM is heading into a turbulent period in the next few weeks, and as a main party of the March 8 alliance and the Lebanese fabric, they are dragging both their coalition and the country with it.

Ramez Dagher is a Lebanese political blogger at Moulahazat.

To Fall or not to Fall: What’s Next for Salam’s Cabinet?

I was in doubt whether to put a picture of Gebran Bassil and Salam together or a vintage image of Saeb Salam during the 1958 revolution, but you  just can't say no to Angelina Jolie. Image source: AP

I was in doubt whether to put a picture of Gebran Bassil and Tammam Salam together or a vintage image of Saeb Salam during the 1958 revolution, but you just can’t say no to Angelina Jolie. Image source: AP

This is the 13th post in a series of monthly posts covering the presidential elections. This post is about the month of July 2015.

For the past two months, things have been very rough in Lebanese politics. Aoun and Geagea signed a declaration of intent, a mini-feud erupted between two Future movement ministers, a new era started in the Kataeb, and the FPM launched a full-blown maneuver in the cabinet in order to secure the appointment of Shamel Roukoz as commander of the army. All of this was also accompanied by a prison scandal and a garbage crisis. Can Lebanon get even more creative?

But this week’s rumor beats all the other political events of this month (Aoun’s interview in which he said he would vote for Frangieh, Jumblatt’s statements, and FPM rallies): In the dark alleys of the Lebanese republic, they say that Lebanon’s Prime Minister Tammam Salam is threatening to resign this week.

No President + No Cabinet = No Parliament

According to article 75 of the constitution, 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. In other words, the parliament becomes an electoral body when it meets 10 days before the expiration of the president’s term, by virtue of law (yeah, right), in order to elect the president. The founding fathers probably meant that the parliament also loses all its legislative powers once a presidential vacancy happens, but since it’s not clearly written there, the Lebanese parliament meets sometimes during presidential vacancies in order to legislate (the biggest example is when the parliament convened on November 5, 2014 in order to extend its term till 2017 ).

According to another article (article 69), When the Council resigns or is considered resigned, the Chamber of Deputies shall automatically be considered convened in extraordinary session until a new Council has been formed and has gained the Chamber’s confidence. When a cabinet usually resigns, the parliament is also discouraged to legislate because the founding fathers probably meant that the extraordinary session was for the vote of confidence and nothing else. But since it’s also not clearly written there, the Lebanese parliament meets sometimes during cabinet vacancies in order to legislate (the biggest example is when the parliament convened on May 31, 2013 and extended its term for 17 months).

What I mean here by these awfully complicated paragraphs is that Tammam Salam’s threat of resignation is huge: Once he leaves office, the parliament, and due to the two – two is too much – articles of the constitution, would probably be forced (for good this time) not to legislate until a president is elected, and since the two coalitions don’t seem to agree on any candidate right now and the parliament isn’t assuming its electoral responsibilities, that means that the Prime Minister’s resignation would not only stop the executive power from functioning, it would also entirely paralyze the parliament.

(And to make things even more complicated, the parliament needs its legislative power in case it wants to amend the constitution and elect a civil-servant like Kahwaji president.)

The bigger picture…

To be clear here, the parliament barely meets during the regular days, and  meets even less now with the presidential vacancy. Aoun and Geagea had previously agreed that they would not attend any legislative session as long as there is no president in power (although they are arguably the main politicians to blame for the vacancy since they are refusing to agree on anyone else other than themselves). This mini-maneuver that both politicians had agreed on – by freezing the parliament in order to pressure the election of a president – will hence heavily backfire: Not only will they lose their blackmailing power, their stubbornness will also be now responsible for one of the biggest deadlocks Lebanon has ever seen: No parliament, no cabinet, no general elections and no president for a record time (Lebanon broke the 1988 record of presidential vacancy three weeks ago). The only thing that could solve this major deadlock is an agreement on a president, and the March 8 alliance, being the one that is officially denying the quorum (probably since M8 fears a last-minute agreement between M14 and Jumblatt on a candidate such as Henri Helou), will mainly be responsible for the deadlock.

…and the smaller one

One must not forget why Salam wants to resign: The FPM ministers want participate in putting the cabinet’s agenda, something the Sunni PM does on his own. They argue that the Maronite president is constitutionally authorized to introduce, from outside the agenda, any urgent matter to the council of Ministers (article 53), and as the biggest Christian party represented in the cabinet, they should hence be allowed to introduce matters from outside the cabinet’s agenda (in order to propose the appointment of Roukoz as commander of the army). They say the rules should change when there is no president in power: An earlier agreement was previously reached according to which a veto right was given to all the ministers (in normal times it’s the absolute majority of the ministers that takes decisions). When the PM refused to let them introduce matters from outside the agenda, they considered that Salam was stepping on the Christian rights and establishing his own “Daesh dictatorship”. But unlike the former agreement, it is political suicide the FPM are asking from Salam: When the deal was reached in May on giving every minister veto power, the PM was giving up the cabinet‘s authority and giving it to the cabinet. Now the FPM was asking Salam to give up the Sunni Prime Minister‘s authority and give it to a Maronite minister. The FPM has been talking about being denied their “Christian rights”, but for Salam, it’s the “Sunni rights” that are at stake here, as well as his powers as president of the executive power: Unlike the popular myth in Lebanon, most of the president’s authorities were mainly transferred after Taef to the cabinet and not the Prime Minister (for example, the army answers to the cabinet, etc..). The only “real” authority the Prime Minister has is the one figuring in article 64, 6: He shall call the Council of Ministers into session and sets its agenda, and he shall inform the President beforehand of the subjects included on the agenda and of the urgent subjects that will be discussed. Everything else is either shared with the cabinet or the president, double-checked by the parliament or too general to be considered as a true power.

Tammam Saeb Salam

The FPM are asking Tammam Salam to give up his powers in the name of a vacancy they are helping to maintain. But Lebanon tends to forget who Salam’s father was. Here’s a small reminder: Saeb Salam resigned in 1973 because the president, Sleiman Frangieh, refused to dismiss the commander of the army. Do the FPM really think that Salam Jr will give up his powers, appoint their candidate as commander of the army and live happily ever after with them because he fears that the resignation of M8 ministers might bring the cabinet down?

What the FPM are failing to see, year after year, cabinet after cabinet, is that their feud with the different Prime Ministers – Siniora, Hariri, Mikati and Salam – does not only make them look like the protectors of Christian interests: It makes of every Prime Minister a hero among his community and strengthens him. Lebanon forgot how Mikati resigned in 2013 because there was a veto within his cabinet on keeping Rifi in his position. If the 2013 parliamentary elections had happened, Mikati would have probably won in his district.

If Mikati, who was M8’s ally, refused to cross such red lines, why would Salam, who isn’t even a direct ally to M8, and whose father had a history of disagreeing with Lebanese Maronite presidents, concede defeat?

So what happens if Salam resigns?

His cabinet – that already assumes the role of the president – becomes a caretaker one, the parliament loses the remainder of its legislative power and the FPM’s demands in the government become useless (since a caretaker cabinet cannot theoretically meet). The FPM lose their chance of making a scene by throwing Salam outside like they did to Hariri in 2011,  and instead of showing themselves as victims, they become the ones responsible for literally everything: Every institution in Lebanon becomes paralyzed because of the M8 boycott of the presidential elections, and the only one who would still keep a bit of influence is Tammam Salam as president of the caretaker cabinet. Also if no solution is reached by September, the commander of the army will probably see his term extended (= bye-bye Shamel Roukoz as LAF commander), since a caretaker cabinet doesn’t officially have enough authority to discuss such an important post, especially that the country would become highly unstable once we cease to have a functioning government alongside a paralyzed parliament and a non-existent president.

If he resigns, Tammam Salam will make everyone else lose everything: The cabinet and the parliament. All the tough responsibilities (The refugee crisis and the garbage crisis to name a few) will now be in the parliament’s hands that will also be forced to elect a president before seeking to vote on any law or cabinet. Salam, on the other hand, has nothing to lose: His cabinet would become a caretaker one anyway the first minute a president is elected.

429 days since the 25th of May. 265 days since the 5th of November.

Christian Rights and Political Maneuvers

Free Patriotic Movement protesters shout at soldiers in Downtown Beirut, Thursday, July 9, 2015. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Azakir)

Free Patriotic Movement protesters shout at soldiers in Downtown Beirut, Thursday, July 9, 2015. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Azakir)

It has been two busy weeks for the Christian leaders. Two very busy weeks. In September, and in case things stay the same, the second most important Christian-allocated post, the Lebanese army command, becomes vacant. And the idea of having the presidency and the command of the army vacant is making all the Christian leaders change their tactics this month with their political maneuvers.

The first “Christian right”: Surveys, polls and strong presidential candidates

One of the very first political maneuver we saw this month was the LF and FPM’s decision to go through with an initial deal of polling Lebanese Christians in order to see who is the most popular Christian leader. For a country that didn’t even do a census since its independence and that postponed its parliamentary elections twice in the last three years, the idea of a census is both ridiculous and useless: Parliamentary elections would be far more accurate, include all Lebanese, and actually produce a parliament that would fairly represent the Lebanese. The only thing a poll could give us are results that no one will trust and that will be used by the winning Christian leader to spam us with till the rest of his life (because, as Geagea and Aoun believe, the strongest Christian leader should become president). Both leaders think that they could use a win in the poll in order to pressure Lebanon’s parliament to elect them. You know, since a parliament that extended his terms twice, postponed democratic elections, and barely convenes, will be surely pressured by a 4600-person poll made by Statistics Lebanon.

“Marada Movement leader Sleiman Frangieh, an ally of Aoun, said that while he supported the poll, its outcome would not affect his voting choices. He said that he would vote for Aoun no matter what the result.”

So to be clear here, no one cares about the poll, and the poll doesn’t matter. In fact, quasi-replacing the elections with a poll is an insult to our intelligence.

The only relevant reason the poll was proposed by Aoun and endorsed by Geagea is that both leaders want to keep the monopoly of Christian leadership to themselves. The increasing threats of a new young influential president of the Kataeb and an aspiring feudal leader from the north probably pushed the two Christian leaders to go through with the poll. While the poll won’t get us anywhere regarding the presidential deadlock, it would be a smart maneuver by Aoun and Geagea to acknowledge the supremacy of one another as Christian leaders in their respective camps. So in other words, the agreement to ask the Christians “who is more popular, Aoun or Geagea” was actually a treaty between the FPM and the LF to confirm Sami Gemayel and Sleiman Frangieh as minor players. And how do we know that? Gemayel voiced remarks on the initiative.

The second “Christian right”: Federalism, decentralization and presidential elections

The Kataeb’s response came quick. The two major Christian leaders were trying to isolate Gemayel by using a Christian right known as “strong Christian president” as an alibi. Gemayel’s response was very accurate as he responded with another Christian right: “Federalism”. Gemayel played his cards well here: The two major Christian players have major ties with Lebanon’s main Muslim parties, and they cannot risk losing support from them by openly supporting such an initiative. One of the main characteristics of the Taef constitution – and in order to suppress the Christian wartime separatist sentiment – is that it confirms the unity of the state, indirectly forbidding any attempt of federalism, while on the other hand promoting “decentralization”. Like most of the articles of our clear constitution, you can interpret that word in many ways. Among Muslim parties, federalism is a big no-no. Sami Gemayel is offering the Christians something the FPM and LF could never support (If they would like their presidential candidacies to remain intact). Gemayel is quickly understanding the rules of the game: When to play the sectarian card, and when to keep it on hold.

99%

Gemayel and Geagea also tried to undermine Aoun’s intiative of Christian polling by confirming that they were still allies on the second of July.

We agree with Kataeb on 99 pct of matters

(The 1% are probably the constitution, the electoral law, the presidential elections, the cabinet formation, the parliamentary elections and everything else that matters in this life and the other)

99% = Pissing off the FPM?

The third “Christian right”: Protests, sons-in-law and early deals

But the most important event this week was the FPM’s decision to take the streets in order to ask for Christian rights.

But what were the protests about? No one precisely knows. The parliament extension? The presidential elections? The new commander of the army? The fact that Salam is trying to be in charge? Christian rights? The poll?

According to Aoun,

“They are eradicating Christian existence in the East through the use of swords, and are trying to abolish our presence through politics.”
“For this reason we are preparing for a popular movement to confront all that is happeningWhat is going on inside the cabinet, as well as prolonging of the Parliament Council’s term, are actually intended for two aims, namely to take control of the government’s decision and to control Christian representatives’ positions, namely the Presidency and Army Command.”

I don’t know if that made things clearer, but Aoun’s protests, which turned out to be a big failure, and were accompanied by a mini-clash with the army and a faux-pas by Gebran Bassil in the cabinet  – video – (although some might praise the FPM’s number 2 and consider standing up to the PM in the council and screaming on one another a great achievement) were intended for one purpose: Separating the presidential elections from the appointment of the new commander of the army.

As I said in a post last month, the appointment of Shamel Roukoz as commander of the army means that Kahwagi, who will no longer be commander of the army, will slowly lose momentum as a presidential candidate in favor of other candidates, while at the same time Roukoz seems the man to fulfill the legacy of Aoun. Once Roukoz becomes commander, he will likely be the FPM’s potential candidate for the presidency – while maintaining a consensual image. That would mean that if the FPM plays its cards well in the next general elections and Roukoz succeeds as commander, the FPM could be looking in 2021 at a party whose Roukoz is leading its men in the executive power as president, and whose Bassil is leading its MPs in parliament, while Aoun would remain the “Godfather of the party”.

The problem however for the FPM is that it does not wish to make concessions in order to bring Roukoz into the army command. The more the FPM waits till September (that’s when Kahwagi’s term expires), the more Kahwagi’s term is likely to be extended, and the more the FPM will be in a weaker position to appoint Roukoz. The FM will ask for concession in exchange for backing Roukoz, and we all know that the concession is going to be Aoun dropping his candidacy.

This is what all of  these maneuvers have been about. Aoun wants the cabinet to discuss the commander of the army’s appointment from now, in order to avoid any deal that could be forced upon him in September. This is why he is also calling for the demonstrations, and trying to prove that he is the most popular leader with the Geagea polling deal. He wants the appointment of Roukoz as soon as possible and is playing the sectarian card by saying that Salam is abusing his powers via refusing to discuss the matter. Constitutionally speaking, it’s the Sunni PM that sets the agenda in the cabinet meetings (article 64) although the Maronite president is allowed to “introduce, from outside the agenda, any urgent matter to the council of Ministers” (article 53). But there is no president right now which gives the FPM the chance to play a double sectarian card: The FPM leaders are arguing that the PM doesn’t want to discuss the Maronite commander of the army, and is refusing to let the biggest Christian party in the cabinet use the authorities of the Maronite president (Ironically, it’s the Aounists who are boycotiing the election of the Maronite president). Anyway, Aoun doesn’t want to be put in a position where he’ll have to choose between his presidential candidacy and the appointment of his son-in-law as commander of the army, and the panic of these last few days is only a small sample of what we’re about to experience in the next couple of weeks (Aoun actually used the English word  “unpredictable”).

With a double vacancy in the Christian posts on the horizon, expect the Christian parties to become hyperactive. Everyone wants to win the Maronite lottery, and they’re going to use every Christian right (whatever that means) they can find in order to maneuver and gain the upper Christian hand by mid-September.

Even Frangieh undermined his major ally’s demonstration, and that means a lot: (1) He wants a piece of the cake too, and (2) Aoun and Geaga were right to be cautious and contain their minor allies. The Maronite patriarch’s say should also be emphasized: He undermined the poll, and warned Aoun against the protests. A major inter-Christian fight on the Maronite posts is about to begin, and the Muslim allies’ opinions are surely going to matter: Just look how Berri remained silent on the stormy cabinet session.

Meanwhile in Arsal, terrorists were fighting over cherries.

413 days since the 25th of May. 249 days since the 5th of November.

Lebanon’s Youngest Presidential Candidate and a Prison Feud

Meet the latest president of the Kataeb

Meet the latest president of the Kataeb

This is the 13th post in a series of monthly posts covering the presidential elections. This post is about the month of June 2015.

It’s been a weird month: Three important events happened in the thirteenth month of presidential vacancy, but they’re not really related to one another, so let’s check them anyway.

Lebanon’s youngest presidential candidate?

Perhaps the main event of this month was the election of Samy Gemayel as the new leader of the Kataeb party. While last month’s post focused mainly on the succession war that is about to happen in the FPM and on the importance of naming Shamel Roukoz commander of the army for M8’s largest Christian party, the transfer of power in the Kataeb was already underway: Gemayel officially declared his candidacy for the Kataeb presidency on the third of June, and was officially elected to succeed his father on the 15th of June. I could act shocked that such a young leader was elected president of such an old party, but then again, it was always too obvious that the presidency of the Kataeb would eventually be given – even if by elections – to the eldest heir of the eldest heir of Pierre Gemayel. What is shocking here is Gemayel’s speech on the third of June. While announcing his nomination for the top Kataeb post, Gemayel said, among other cliché sentences most Lebanese politicians use (Like ending corruption and seeking dialogue), the following sentence:

“And because it is a Lebanese project, then it is not sectarian, and should be open to all Lebanese sects.”

Actually, there’s more:

“The MP said he would exercise all efforts to show Muslims that the Kataeb, which was once seen as one of the most sectarian collectives in Lebanon, is open to their membership, noting that he was seeking to reform the Christian party into a pluralistic entity.”

A day may come when Lebanese political parties will lose their sectarianism, unite together in secular coalitions, and laugh on the years they fought one another in brutal religious civil wars, but that day was not the 3rd of June 2015. (And yes, I just quoted Aragorn from The Lord of the  Rings)

Samy Gemayel’s speech/press conference was not a call for Muslims to join his party as much as it was his way of saying that he would serve both Muslim and Christian interests if elected president. And when I say president, I mean president of the Lebanese republic, and not the president of the Kataeb party. It is said that when his grandfather Pierre Gemayel wanted to become Lebanese president, he was told that he couldn’t be at the same time the leader of Lebanon’s Christians and the head of state: It would have seemed as if Christians were solely in power. Gemayel’s speech was beautifully written, and it was beautifully written for a reason: He might be the youngest Christian leader among the Maronite four (if he is to replace his father), but he now heads Lebanon’s oldest, most organized (and arguably third biggest) Christian party. His father’s chances were relatively high after Samir Geagea suffered the humilation of losing the first round of the presidential elections to no one in April 2015, but one year after the presidential vacancy, his father is likely to remain a former president. His father’s candidacy is likely to be transferred to him and it seems he’s not playing it like Aoun and Geagea, who are showing themselves as consensual candidates because they ally themselves to Muslim parties. He is playing a much more advanced consensual card: He wants to show that he comes from a party that would gladly accept – and even encourage – Muslim membership, and that not only is he one of the Maronite four, but a truly centrist and non-sectarian politician.

The right last name

Sometimes in Lebanese politics, all you need is the last right name.  The right last name is what Sleiman Frangieh and Kamal Jumblatt used to undermine Saeb Salam in the early 70s, by naming Takieddine Al-Solh in 1973 and Rachid Al-Solh in 1974 as Prime Ministers in order to curb the Salam/Karami influence. And ironically, the right last name is what gave Tammam Salam the upper hand in 2014. Salam had other worthy centrist competitors – even billionaire ones –  yet it is him who currently presides over the cabinet.

Like Salam, Samy Gemayel has the right last name. Like Salam, Samy Gemayel is a member of a coalition, but at the same time leads a faction of the coalition that arguably has the most ties with the other side. The only thing he does not have is a “consensual advantage” over his opponents. We all know that the likelihood of the Kataeb becoming secular is equal to the possibility of aliens forming sectarian parties and colonizing the Sun. And even if he insists on enforcing the decision of making the party wide open to Muslim membership, his authority as a young a leader of the Kataeb will be challenged. So until proven otherwise, Gemayel’s call for the Lebanese Muslims is nothing but a political maneuver he’s using to prove his centrism and become an accepted candidate to the presidency.

The month of leaks: WikiLeaks and TortureLeaks

It has been a tough month on M14. WikiLeaks leaked its Saudi Cables, and while the leaks weren’t very kind to both camps, they were naturally harsher on M14 (since its leaders naturally tend to talk more with the Saudi officials). But the much bigger problem for the Future Movement this month was the leak of torture videos from Roumieh prison. Here’s a brief summary of everything that is politically relevant about that issue:

“I accuse Hezbollah of leaking the videos,” Rifi told a joint news conference with Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk. “The people have seen two videos. There are about four videos, and only Hezbollah had access to some of them.”

Machnouk did not seem to support Rifi’s allegations, saying he had “no accurate information” regarding the source of the leak.

[…]

Rifi visited Machnouk at the Interior Ministry in an apparent move to defuse tensions following media reports that accused the justice minister of leaking the footage and orchestrating the ensuing street protests in Beirut, the northern city of Tripoli and other areas in a bid to undermine the interior minister’s reputation.

Rifi dismissed rumors of a feud with Machnouk, saying he enjoyed a “fraternal” relationship with the interior minister.

Machnouk also denied reports of a power struggle with Rifi. “There is no disagreement in the broad lines of main politics or in personal ties. Our friendship has been going on for a long time,” Machnouk said. “We are in agreement that what is happening served only extremism and would lead only to undermining moderation. No one has an interest in undermining moderation.”

The FM has always had very different ways of doing politics, depending on its electorate. In the North and in the rural regions, where the electorate tends to be more Islamist-friendly and more religiously homogeneous – Sunnis are 85% in Donniyeh, 80% in Tripoli, and 66% in Akkar – the FM’s politicians tend to use a more sectarian discourse  (Rifi is a perfect example since it is well-known by now that he intends to lead the FM’s Northern parliamentary fight in the next elections). In Beirut, where the Sunni electorate is less than 50%, more moderate, and actually shrinking, and where a large number of Christian MPs are affiliated with the movement, the Sunni Beiruti FM politicians are by far the most moderates among the Sunnis of their party. The smart double standards of the FM have permitted them to keep their electorate in check for more than ten years now – even Hariri often switches from one side to another depending on the context – but the clash between the two wings of the party was bound happen eventually. Do not be fooled by both politicians’ denial of the power struggle. The power struggle is there and it’s real. And the very fact that, in a joint press conference, Mashnouk refused to accuse Hezbollah while Rifi took pride in blaming M8’s leading party tells us that a mini-war is underway in the Future Movement, and that the relation with Hezbollah will be a key element in this rivalry.

Turns out it was a smart move from Hezbollah to give the FM both the justice and interior ministries after all.

Roumieh and Baabda

So as the FPM tries to make Roukoz commander of the LAF without giving in too much to M14’s demands, and as Geagea tries to disrupt those plans with the declaration of intentions, and as Hezbollah continues its fight in Syria, and as an internal mini-struggle for power starts to unravel in the Future Movement, only one thing is constant: We still don’t have a president, and no politician has ever cared less about that fact.

 399 days since the 25th of May. 262 days since the 5th of November.

Aoun-Geagea: Is It Truly a Declaration of Intent?

FPM leader Michel Aoun and LF leader Samir Geagea speak during a joint press conference in Rabieh, Tuesday, June 2, 2015. (The Daily Star/Stringer)

FPM leader Michel Aoun and LF leader Samir Geagea speak during a joint press conference in Rabieh, Tuesday, June 2, 2015. (The Daily Star/Stringer)

“A declaration of intent” (اعلان النوايا), they called it. Because you know, as the Lebanese say, “المهم النية”.

Surprise. For the first time since 2005, Michel Aoun and Samir Geagea met. Live. Face to face. Without having to shoot at one another like the good old days of the late eighties.

But if you have been following Lebanese politics for the past 9 months, the meeting between the leaders of the two main Christian parties shouldn’t be surprising. Both parties were having talks since Hezbollah and Mustaqbal started their dialogue earlier this year (Aoun even tasted Geagea’s truffles in January!), the talks were making good progess in April, and the declaration of intent was actually finished a month ago. In fact, if you remember correctly, the fear of an FPM-LF rapprochement led the Kataeb, Michel Sleiman, and other minor Christian politicians to unite under one front in March. So no, it should not be that surprising to see Kanaan and Riachi telling us that the FPM and the LF are intending to continue the dialogue and work within the constitution in order to protect their interests.

What is weird here is the timing of the declaration. When they finished it last month without directly announcing it, it was assumed that both parties were waiting for M8 and M14 to agree on the major issues such as the presidential elections. It’s still too soon to be sure why that specific timing was chosen, but it seems right now that Geagea was trying to sabotage a potential rumored Aoun-Hariri deal on the way: letting Aoun name the commander of the army in exchange of conceding to some of Mustaqbal’s terms such as M8 lifting its veto on some centrist presidential candidates. Only yesterday, I was talking about how important it is for Aoun and the FPM that Roukoz becomes commander of the army.  If you read the declaration, you’ll find out  that it revolves around one main idea: protecting the Christian interests, and at their core, the election of a strong president (look for the sentence in bold in the original text). And in case you still don’t know what a “strong president” means after 12 months of presidential vacancy, let me enlighten you: Strong = Aoun and /or Geagea.

Aoun looked like the bigger party yesterday, since it was Geagea the one who visited him in Rabieh, but don’t be fooled by the formalities, since in the end, the leader of the Lebanese Forces succeeded in bringing back the “strong president” rhetoric to life, thus pushing Aoun away from the idea of a consensual president and a Roukouz deal with the Mustaqbal and the PSP. Yesterday, it wasn’t a new alliance between the LF and the FPM that was starting. It was the consensual candidate – Roukoz deal that was being put off the table, At least for now.

Anyway, here’s the original text of the declaration (directly from the source), if you would like to waste five minutes of your times on a text that could be summed up with the sentence “We agree to find an agreement”

لما كان الحوار هو الوسيلة الفضلى لتبادل الآراء وتفاعلها من اجل صياغة رؤية مشتركة حول القضايا والمواضيع ذات الاهتمام المتبادل على جميع الصعد السياسية والاقتصادية والادارية والاجتماعية،

ولما كان التيار الوطني الحر والقوات اللبنانية قد عقدا أكثر من لقاء وبحثا أسس التفاهم في ما بينهما، فوجدا أن التنافس السياسي أمر مشروع وواجب لارساء قواعد الديمقراطية وبلورتها في نظام للحكم.

ولما كان حزبا التيار الوطني الحر والقوات اللبنانية قد أجريا مراجعة للعلاقة التي سادت بينهما خلال أكثر من ربع قرن وذلك من أجل تنقية الذاكرة من مناخات الخصومة السياسية التي طبعت تلك العلاقة، والتطلع بالتالي نحو مستقبل يسوده التنافس السياسي الشريف و/أو التعاون السياسي.
–  التزام نهج الحوار والتخاطب السياسي البناء والسعي الدائم للتوافق على ثوابت وقواسم مشتركة
– تأكيد الايمان بلبنان كوطن نهائي سيد حر مستقل وبصيغة العيش المشترك وبضرورة التمسك بالمبادئ الواردة في مقدمة الدستور بصفتها مبادئ تأسيسية ثابتة
– اعتماد المبادئ السيادية في مقاربة المواضيع التي هي على ارتباط وثيق بالقضايا الاقليمية والدولية على أن تؤخذ في الاعتبار امكانات الدولة اللبنانية والمعادلات الاقليمية والدولية
– الالتزام بمرتكزات وثيقة الوفاق الوطني التي اقرّت في الطائف والتعهد باحترام أحكام الدستور كافة دون انتقائية وبعيداً عن الاعتبارات السياسية والابتعاد عن كل ما من شأنه التلاعب بأحكام الدستور أو اساءة تفسيره
– التأكيد على أن وثيقة الوفاق الوطني قد طبقت منذ اقرارها وخلال عهد الوصاية وحتى اليوم بشكل معتور مما يوجب تصويب المسار من خلال العودة إلى مرتكزات الميثاق الوطني واحكام الدستور المتعلقة بالمناصفة الفعلية وصحة التمثيل النيابي الفعال والشراكة الصحيحة بين مكونات المجتمع اللبناني كافة بما يحفظ قواعد العيش المشترك وترجمة ذلك في قانون انتخاب يؤمن القواعد المشار اليها اعلاه وفي انتخاب رئيس للجمهورية قوي ومقبول في بيئته وقادر على طمأنة المكونات الأخرى والايفاء بقسمه

وبالتزامات الرئاسة بما يؤمن الشراكة الفعلية الميثاقية والمصلحة الوطنية العليا
– العمل على تعزيز مؤسسات الدولة وتشجيع ثقافة الاحتكام الى القانون والمؤسسات الشرعية لحلّ أي خلاف أو اشكال طارئ وعدم اللجوء إلى السلاح والعنف مهما تكن الهواجس والاحتقانات
– دعم الجيش على الصعيدين المعنوي والمادي بصفته المؤسسة الضامنة للسيادة والأمن القومي وتكريس الجهد اللازم لتمكينه وسائر القوى الأمنية الشرعية من التعامل مع كل الحالات الأمنية على الأراضي اللبنانية كافة بهدف بسط سلطة الدولة وحدها على كامل الأراضي اللبنانية
– ضرورة التزام سياسة خارجية مستقلة بما يضمن مصلحة لبنان ويحترم القانون الدولي وذلك بنسج علاقات تعاون وصداقة مع جميع الدول ولا سيما العربية منها مما يحصن الوضع الداخلي اللبناني سياسياً وأمنياً ويساعد على استقرار الأوضاع وكذلك اعتبار اسرائيل دولة عدوة والتمسك بحق الفلسطينيين بالعودة إلى أرضهم ورفض التوطين واعتماد حل الدولتين ومبادرة بيروت 2002
– الحرص على ضبط الأوضاع على طول الحدود اللبنانية السورية بالاتجاهين وعدم السماح باقامة منطقة عازلة في لبنان وباستعمال لبنان مقرا او منطلقا لتهريب السلاح والمسلحين ويبقى الحق في التضامن الانساني والتعبير السياسي والاعلامي مكفولا تحت سقف الدستور والقانون والمصلحة الوطنية العليا
– احترام قرارات الشرعية الدولية كافة والالتزام بمواثيق الامم المتحدة وجامعة الدول العربية
– العمل على تنفيذ القرارات السابقة التي تم الاتفاق عليها في طاولة الحوار الوطني
– ايجاد حل لمشكلة النزوح السوري والمتعاظمة والتي أصبحت بمثابة قنبلة موقوتة أمنيا واقتصاديا وسياسيا واجتماعيا لا سيما مع تفاقمها مع مشكلة اللاجئين الفلسطينيين وذلك عن طريق تأمين عودة النازحين إلى المناطق الآمنة داخل الأراضي السورية
– ضرورة اقرار قانون جديد للانتخابات يراعي المناصفة الفعلية وصحة التمثيل بما يحفظ قواعد العيش المشترك ويشكل المدخل الأساسي لاعادة التوازن إلى مءسسات الدولة
– الالتزام بوثيقة الوفاق الوطني لجهة اعتماد اللامركزية الإدارية والمالية الموسعة ونقل قسم كبير من صلاحيات الادارة المركزية ولا سيما الانمائية منها إلى سلطات لامركزية منتخبة وفقاً للأصول وتأمين الايرادات الذاتية اللازمة لذلك
– الالتزام بأحكام الدستور المتعلقة بالمالية العامة وبأحكام قانون المحاسبة العمومية التي تحدد موازنة الدولة وشموليتها وأصول ومهل اعدادها وتقديمها إلى المجلس النيابي وكذلك اعداد الحسابات المالية وتدقيقها وتصديقها وفقاً للأصول وكذلك الالتزام بضرورة تحديد سقف للاقتراض لا يمكن تجاوزه الا باجازة جديدة من المجلس النيابي وبضرورة ترشيد الانفاق والحد من الهدر والانفاق غير المجدي ومحاربة الفساد المستشري وإعمال قانون الاثراء غير المشروع وانشاء المحكمة الخاصة بالجرائم المالية
– التأكيد على التمسك بالمبادئ الكيانية المؤسسة للوطن اللبناني والتي هي سبب وجوده وجوهر رسالته في التسامح والتنوع والتعايش الفريد القائم على المشاركة الكاملة في الحكم والعمل المشترك من اجل اقرار القوانين المحققة لذلك وفي طليعتها قانون استعادة الجنسية وقانون تملك الأجانب كما العمل من أجل الحؤول دون القيام بأي اجراءات تخالف المبادئ المنبثقة من الصيغة اللبنانية ومن الميثاق الوطني.

وإذ يعتبر الطرفان أن اعلان النوايا هذا، يهدف إلى وضع المبادء الديمقراطية ومعاييرها كأساس لتنظيم علاقتهما، يؤكدان على ابقاء المبادئ الدستورية والميثاقية فوق سقف التنافس السياسي، كما يؤكدان على ارادتهما ورغبتهما بالعمل المشترك والتواصل في جميع المجالات والمواقع الممكنة لتنفيذ التزاماتهما المنوه عنها اعلاه ويعتزمان العمل على تفعيل انتاجية اتفاقاتهما حيث يتفقان، والتنافس من دون خصام حيث يختلفان، كما يتعهدان بالتواصل الدائم والتباحث المستمر للتفاهم على كافة المواضيع ذات الشأن العام والوطني.

375 days since the 25th of May. 211 days since the 5th of November.