Speaker Berri/Berry: I will convene parliament on September 25 to elect a new president. (Daily Star)
Berri minion Bazzi, Hezbo’s Raad, Aoun and his minions: the election requires 2/3 of the 128 MPs to be held (a lie or legal ignorance, you choose). (Naharnet)
This transparent good-cop/bad-cop routine is what passes for brilliant maneuvering in moronic Lebanese politics. And it may well look brilliant given the continued haplessness of M14, Seniora/Sanioura and Saad Hariri. Yes, there is the occasional repartee (Joumblatt, Geagea etc) but that is nowhere near enough. The opposition* is in the driver seat and M14 keeps playing catch-up.
Speaker Berri is taking flak and pressure for paralyzing parliament. The real goal of course is to sink the presidential election (after the tribunal). And while the opposition managed to taint the legality of the current government, there is no excuse whatsoever for delegitimizing the duly elected parliament. Nabih Berri knows it too well.
So Berri comes out and says the above, which:
a) changes the subject from his appalling dereliction of duty
b) makes him look like he’s impartial and doing his job
Then 5 minutes later, if not before, Amal/Hezbo/Aoun flunkies come out to tell us that the constitution requires a 2/3 quorum to hold the presidential election. I.e. 85 MPs out of 128. Of course the “opposition” has 1/3 of the MPs and therefore could block the election by not showing up. Or so they claim.
Amal MP Bazzi:
Bazzi said the legislative will convene based on a quorum of two-thirds of MPs to elect a new head of state to replace President Emile Lahoud [….]
Amal MP Ali Hassan Khalil:
"The text [of the Constitution] is clear concerning the need for a two-thirds majority in order to convene the session [of Parliament]," Khalil added.
MP Michel Aoun is on record with the same gibberish.
IANAL** but here’s Article 49 of the constitution
The President of the Republic shall be elected by secret ballot and by a two-thirds majority of the Chamber of Deputies. After a first ballot, an absolute majority shall be sufficient.
Clearly “2/3 majority” and “absolute majority” in sentence one and two refer to the same THING: the margin needed to ELECT. Not a margin needed to HOLD the election.
Furthermore, the original Article 49
, prior to 1927 said:
The President of the Republic shall be elected by secret ballot and a two-thirds majority of the total votes of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies joined in a Parliamentary Assembly. After the first ballot, an absolute majority shall be sufficient. (Bold mine)
Hear that? 2/3 of the votes. Yes, everything was better in the 20’s and they knew how to write a constitution back then. It seems the constitution got worse with every revision (thanks Syria, Saudi and our own idiots).
First amendment to Article 49, in 1927 read:
The President of the Republic shall be elected by secret ballot and a two-thirds majority of the total votes of the Chamber of Deputies. After the first ballot, an absolute majority shall be sufficient.
Amended in 1929, the part in question stated the same. (The presidential term was changed from 3 years to 6 years.)
Call me crazy but for those who want to see, Article 49 and its history are crystal clear, even to people with no legal background. As for liars, cheats and plain idiots, I cannot vouch.
M14 needs to stop this 2/3 baloney in its tracks, right now.
Everyone should be in on this, 24/7 and until after the election, to win the PR battle. By everyone, I mean MPs, legal and constitutional experts, the constitutional council, the religious heads, the chamber of commerce etc.
Pressure and ridicule should be heaped non-stop on the naysayers and on their dubious legal experts. The presidential election is in November and again M8 is grabbing the initiative and is ahead in the PR battle.
In the meantime Seniora is releasing accounting reports to prove to Hezbo that his government is sending Dahieh more money than Hezbo says, or some such nonsense. Fouad, that's not not going to sway Nasrallah and his lunatics. Focus on the ball.
*Opposition is a misnomer. Oppositions play by the rules. M8 is an insurgency.
**IANAL: Net lingo, could not resist, for “I am not a lawyer”