The constitutional deadline for the election of a new president of the Lebanese Republic has begun to succeed the current president, Michel Aoun, whose term ends on the 31st of next October after 4 years, amid a lack of agreement between the political forces and religious sects in Lebanon about presenting a consensual candidate to complete the main election on time, in conjunction with differences The formation of the new government assigned to it by the caretaker prime minister, Najib Mikati, has been hampered since the 23rd of last June.
Between the lack of agreement over a presidential candidate, and the disagreement over the formation of the government, there are fears of the continuation of the government vacuum in the presence of a government that conducts business with limited powers until the end of the constitutional deadline for electing a new president, leading to a presidential vacuum, which may lead to complete paralysis in the executive authority in Lebanon.
The Lebanese constitution defines the procedures for electing the new president by the parliament with its 128 members. Article 49 stipulates that the election of the president of the republic shall be carried out by secret ballot by a two-thirds majority of the parliament in the first session, while an absolute majority is sufficient in the following voting cycles.
The President of the Republic shall remain in office for six years and he may not be re-elected until after six years of expiry of his term, and no one may be elected to the Presidency of the Republic unless he possesses the conditions that qualify him to represent him and do not prevent him from being eligible for nomination.
It is also not permissible to elect judges and employees of the first category, and their equivalent in all public administrations, public institutions and other legal persons in public law, for the period of their performance of their job and during the two years following the date of their resignation and actual discontinuation of their job or the date of their retirement.
Article 49 affirms that the President of the Republic is the head of the state and the symbol of the nation’s unity and ensures respect for the constitution and the preservation of Lebanon’s independence, unity and territorial integrity. He presides, in accordance with the provisions of the constitution, the Supreme Defense Council and is the supreme commander of the armed forces, which are subject to the authority of the Council of Ministers.
Article 50 of the Lebanese constitution stipulates that the elected president of the republic shall take an oath of loyalty to the nation and the constitution, which reads: “I swear by Almighty God to respect the constitution and laws of the Lebanese nation and to preserve the independence and territorial integrity of the Lebanese nation.”
Article 73 of the Lebanese Constitution states that the phase of electing a new president for the Lebanese Republic begins at least one month or two months before the end of the president’s term, when the House of Representatives meets at the invitation of its president to elect the new president. For members to convene, the Council shall meet, ipso facto, on the tenth day preceding the expiry of the term of office of the President.
Article 75 of the constitution states that once the parliament meets to elect the president of the republic, the parliament turns into an electoral body only without any legislative powers. its members.
Political norms in Lebanon require, according to the Taif Agreement, that a member of the Maronite Christian community, which is the largest Christian community in Lebanon, take the position of President of the Republic. The Lebanese Parliament includes a number of Maronite Christian blocs, including the Lebanese Forces Party bloc headed by Samir Geagea. Next comes the parliamentary bloc of the Free Patriotic Movement, which includes 18 deputies, which is the political team of the current President of the Republic, Michel Aoun, headed by Representative Gibran Bassil, the son-in-law of the President of the Republic. Frangieh.
Despite the one religious reference of these blocs, they do not agree on a single candidate they support for the presidency. Rather, the Lebanese Forces and the Phalange blocs belong to the March 14 movement, which supports confining arms to the state in order to preserve its sovereignty, while the Free Patriotic Movement and the Marada Movement belong to the (8) movement. March) allied with Hezbollah.
It is noteworthy that President Michel Aoun assumed the presidency of the Lebanese Republic on the 31st of October 2016, after a presidential vacuum that lasted nearly 29 months, during which the Lebanese Parliament held 46 sessions to elect the new president to succeed former President Michel Suleiman, whose term expired in May 2014.
Aoun is considered the thirteenth president of Lebanon since independence, and has previously held many military and civil positions. He was born on September 30, 1933, and joined the Lebanese Army, where he rose in positions until he became the tenth commander of the Lebanese Army during the period from June 23, 1984, to November 27, 1989. He held the position of Prime Minister of Lebanon from September 22, 1988 to October 1990, and founded the Free Patriotic Movement in 1990. He was also elected as a member of Parliament in 2005.
After nearly 3 years of assuming power, Lebanon witnessed a popular movement on October 17, 2019 in protest against the deteriorating political and living conditions in the country, coinciding with the beginning of a financial and economic collapse that led the country to a major crisis that the World Bank classified as among the 3 worst crises in the world since the middle of nineteenth century.
The crisis also resulted in a major collapse in the value of the Lebanese currency, as the dollar’s exchange rate doubled by more than 23 times against the lira during the period from 2019 until today, in addition to a collapse in the banking sector that prevented depositors from obtaining their deposits in banks and increased the poverty rate to unprecedented numbers and underdeveloped The country has repaid its debts, and the year 2020 witnessed a huge explosion in the Beirut sea port, classified as the most powerful non-nuclear explosion in the twenty-first century, killing more than 200 people, injuring more than 6000 others, and displacing hundreds of thousands, as well as great material losses.
The Lebanese hope that this September will witness the birth of a new government and the stability of a new consensus president, to begin the phase of saving the country and passing the required reform laws in Parliament, hoping for recovery after the major collapse in all services, including electricity, water, communications and roads, in addition to health and education services.