5 MPs Walk Out in Protest at Prearranged Constitutional Council Vote
The MPs Sami Gemayel, Nadim Gemayel, Paula Yacoubian, Jamil al-Sayyed and Jean Talouzian on Wednesday walked out of parliament during a session to elect half of the members of the Constitutional Council.
In a statement, Sami Gemayel slammed what he called “a prior agreement on names and a show election.”
Gemayel said the MPs walked out “in protest against the approach of splitting shares and the blow against the last judicial fortress.”
“We fear that we may have lost the last refuge for the Lebanese opposition and the Lebanese people,” Gemayel decried.
Al-Sayyed meanwhile blasted the vote as “a farce to blindly approve what was agreed on among the political and sectarian parties.”
“This is a systematic attack on the structure of the Lebanese state,” he said.
Tannous Meshleb was elected as the head of the Council with 72 votes. The other four candidates – Antoine Breidi, Riad Abu Ghayda, Aouni Ramadan and Akram Baaseeri – were elected as members with votes ranging between 71 and 79.
“The final touches on the five names were put overnight after Speaker Nabih Berri’s political aide Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil visited Prime Minister Saad Hariri during the evening session of the finance committee,” al-Joumhouria newspaper reported on Wednesday.
“The major blocs have agreed on the nomination of the following candidates: Tannous Meshleb (Maronite) for the presidency of the Council, Antoine Breidi for the Greek Orthodox seat, Riad Abu Ghayda for the Druze seat, Aouni Ramadan for the Shiite seat and Akram Baaseeri for the Sunni seat,” the daily said.
The other five members are supposed to be named by the Council of Ministers. Judicial and political sources have however ruled out that they will be named during Thursday’s session seeing as the meeting will be chaired by Hariri and not by President Michel Aoun.