Suleiman to be Elected Today?
A couple of newspapers in Beirut are speculating that General Michel Suleiman/Sleiman will be elected president when parliament convenes for its ninth attempt to elect today.
The impediment to his election, a complicated but needed constitutional amendment**, has apparently vanished into thin air, as has the constitution of the republic.
According to An-Nahar, parliament will meet to interpret the constitution (Arabic) and then elect (English link, Naharnet). The “clever” interpretation would say: the law is there to guarantee continuity and prevent a vacuum. Since a vacuum has already occurred, the law does not serve its purpose anymore and therefore can be, and should be, suspended/ignored in order to solve the current (vacuum) crisis.
I think the vacuum between our parliamentarians’ two ears is more dangerous than the power vacuum in Baabda.
L’Orient-LeJour ascribes to MPs an even “cuter” constitutional interpretation (French, link good one day) to trash the supreme law: “force majeure” and precedent. Sit down and hold on tight to your pants.
In 2002 upon the death of (anti Syrian) MP Albert Moukheiber, daughter of (pro Syrian) Minister and MP Michel Murr was allowed to run for the seat, even though election laws should have prevented her from running because she was the head of a municipal council (Metn).
“Force majeure”, a concept from contract law that applies to catastrophes and "acts of God", was cited to circumvent electoral laws. What was the extraordinary event that meant the law could not be applied: the death of MP Moukheiber who, by now, must be spinning in his grave at the speed of light. I guess, in Lebanon, no one could have predicted that the death of an MP could lead to a partial election (gasp), though it's all in the constitution.
Was it that Myrna Murr’s candidacy was necessary to the republic’s survival? Or was it the fact that her Daddy was a major power broker and a Syrian ally and bully that led to “creative”, not to say "fraudulent", interpretation of the law? You decide.
There you have it. A "precedent": the law was broken before and therefore can be broken again. Electoral law or constitutional law, does not matter. Of course back then, (Syrian pocketed) constitutional council or not, who was going to argue with Syria and its allies?
Whether the above will come to pass or not, I admire the energy that goes into all this baloney when it really would be a lot easier to pass one last and terminal amendment, or two, to that lousy document called a “constitution”:
Article Last: This here Lebanese constitution is but a cruel joke and was never meant to be followed.
Article After-Last (why not?): The cedar on the national flag is hereby banned and shall be replaced by a banana.
UPDATE: Election postponed for the ninth time until December 22.
**For those unfamiliar with the situation, General Suleiman, as a grade-one high level official, is not eligible to become prez until 2 years after leaving his current position. Amending the law requires initiation by the Seniora/Saniora government that the opposition deems illegal. Lebanon has been without a president since November 24.