Despite popular belief and the popular uproars from the crowd about this mysterious eight-day rule, whereby if protests persist for over one week that the Lebanese Government is considered resigned, there is absolutely nothing in the constitution that states it, nor are such statement and allegation based on any legal or binding framework at all. But!
Lebanese people, who have been on the streets for days now, carrying their hopes and aspirations for this country tirelessly, would love to know that this “eight-day rule” is true. So, here is what you need to know.
The Lebanese Constitution under article 69, as amended by Constitutional Law of October 17, 1927, abrogated by the constitutional law of May 8, 1929, and issued by the constitutional law of September 21, 1990, dictates that the Government shall only be considered resigned under the following circumstances:
a. if the Prime Minister resigns; b. if it loses more than a third of the members specified in the Decree of its formation; c. if the Prime Minister dies; d. at the beginning of the term of the President of the Republic; e. at the beginning of the term of the Chamber of Deputies; f. when it loses the confidence of the Chamber of Deputies based on the Chamber’s initiative or based on the Council’s initiative to seek confidence.
Article 69 of the Lebanese Constitution also states: “A Minister shall be dismissed by a Decree signed by the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister after the approval of two-thirds of the Council members.”
Furthermore, this article also states that “When the Council resigns or is considered resigned, the Chamber of Deputies shall automatically be considered convened in extraordinary session until a new Council has been formed and has gained the Chamber’s confidence.”
Moving from this point, Article 70, as amended by the Constitutional Law of September 21, 1990, further sets up the legal and constitutional framework for the Chamber of Deputies to impeach the Council of Ministers:
“The Chamber of Deputies has the right to impeach the Prime Minister and Ministers for high treason or for breach of their duties. The decision to impeach may not be taken except by a two-thirds majority of the total members of the Chamber. A special law shall determine the conditions of the civil liability of the Prime Minister and individual Ministers.”
Even more so, it is important for the Lebanese public to know that the resignation of the Prime Minister as well as the resignation of the Council of Ministers does not come without consequences and subsequent steps.
Article 71, as amended by the Constitutional Law of September 21, 1990, clearly states that “The impeached Prime Minister or Minister shall be tried by the Supreme Council.”
Furthermore, Article 72, as amended by the Constitutional Law of September 21, 1990, also states that “The Prime Minister or Minister shall leave office as soon as the Decision of impeachment concerning him is issued. If he resigns, his resignation shall not prevent judicial proceedings from being instituted or continued against him.”
During this critical time for Lebanon and Lebanon’s legacy and history, it is important for people to not only know what they want and what they have a right to but to also know that their Constitution protects them and lays a framework for the implementation of this protection against an abusive “Government” and an outdated political elite.
It is also even more important to know that according to Article 68 of our Constitution “When the Chamber, in accordance with Article 37, passes a vote of no confidence in a Minister, that Minister shall be required to resign.”
Maybe it’s time to tackle our political elite from within? Or is the Parliament going to continue to pretend like this is not their fight or their problem?