Friday, June 05, 2009

Constitutional Council Sworn In

On May 26 the Lebanese Cabinet approved the appointment of five judges to fill the remaining empty seats on the country's Constitutional Council. Those judges were Salah Moukheiber, Raymond Eid, Suheil Abdel Samad, Toufic Soubra and Issam Sleiman.

The judges were sworn in today at Baabda Presidential Palace, two days ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections. The Constitutional Council has the power to judge the constitutionality of the elections and to review contestations of the results.

On the initial appointment, NOWLebanon writes:

According to the council’s rules of procedure, the adoption of any decision requires a majority of seven votes.

The council had been incomplete and non-functional for years as, while five of the ten members had already been chosen by parliament, the five remaining seats chosen by the cabinet Tuesday night had been empty due to extensive political disagreements.

According to An-Nahar the appointments were completed thanks to an agreement over the distribution of seats, whereby six went to the majority, three went to the opposition and one to the president.

The paper also reported that Issam Sleiman was appointed chairman of the council following an agreement among President Michel Sleiman, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and leaders from the opposition and majority.

But the council appointments did not go perfectly smoothly. Sources in the Lebanese Forces said that LF representatives in the cabinet expressed strong reservations because Judge Muhib Maamari was not appointed to the Constitutional Council.
Click here and here for related posts on the Constitutional Council connundrum and how it played out.

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