The Lebanese Presidential Vacuum: a dangerous precedent

Image credits: An empty presidential seat in Baabda Palace, Lebanon. The Liberum archive.

The Lebanese Presidential seat in Baabda Palace has been vacant for over six months since Michel Aoun left on October 30 (2022). Our small nation has entered a dangerous presidential vacuum that will likely further worsen its economic, historical, and social sectors. A dangerous precedent given the fact that the president of the republic is the Head of State and the symbol of the Nation’s unity.

By Nour Sabha
Away from pointing fingers at various parties and movements active in the Lebanese political arena, how should the vacuum be judged from a legal perspective?

A brief analysis.

As per Article 49 of the Lebanese Constitution, the President of the Republic shall be elected by secret ballot and by a two-thirds majority of the Chamber deputies. After a first ballot, an absolute majority shall be efficient.

Needless to point out here, the newly elected Parliament should have followed  Article 49.

Emphasising the importance, sensitivity and independence of the Presidential position, the Constitution deals comprehensively with the status of the presidency in the event of the constitutional deadline for the election of the President of the Republic.

Article 73 states that one month at least and two months at most before the expiration of the term of office of the President of the Republic, the Chamber shall be convened by its president to elect the new president.

Nonetheless, should it not be convened for this purpose, the Chamber shall meet automatically on the tenth day before the President’s term of office expires.

A meeting that never took place.

It is necessary to point out that according to Article 73, the constitution did not provide the Parliament with the freedom to convene or a discretionary power in this matter; instead, it is an obligation caressed by the body.

Unfortunately, even though the Constitution is considered the supreme law and the highest of the legal pyramid, that places in the hands of the Chamber deputies the power and duty to fill this vacancy immediately and by the Constitution.

The Parliament has failed over and over again to implement its constitutional duties and elect a new President of the Republic. Resulting in the sixth Presidential vacuum in Lebanese history.

Of course, not electing a President of the Republic is considered a violation and a breach of the constitution and constitutional duties placed on every deputy representing the entire nation, resulting in the country’s political stalemate.

Last but not least, the occurrence of a Presidential vacuum leads to the imbalance that afflicts the country and accordingly leads to the loss of the Head of State that ensures respect for the constitution and maintains coexistence.

It is a national crisis that has brought the country to a complete disruption in which the body and its institutions are broken and violated.

Without its President, Lebanon is losing its national decision and its independence becomes threatened. In the meantime, the already collapsed economy is worsening by the day, not to mention the devastating impact on our cultural and social sectors and the dangers to our national unity.

Nour Sabha is a Lebanese Attorney at law. Her legal journey began with a law degree from Holy Spirit University Of Kaslik (USEK) in 2015, which provided her with a solid foundation in the fundamental principles of law and the legal system. She is a lawyer registered at the Beirut bar association and a legal counsellor.

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2 comments on “The Lebanese Presidential Vacuum: a dangerous precedent”

  1. Excellent piece by Ms Nour.. maybe she can analyse the stalemate in the formation of a new government.

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