Constitutional Council Chief Warns of 'Dangerous Precedence,' Calls for Quorum Article Amendment

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The head of the Constitutional Council regretted that the 10-member body failed to issue a ruling on petitions filed against the extension of parliament’s term, warning that it would lead to a “dangerous constitutional precedence.”

In remarks to al-Joumhouria daily published on Wednesday, Judge Issam Suleiman expressed “deep regret” that the council failed to take a decision on the extension over lack of quorum.

The body should have discussed a report drafted by Suleiman on the petitions filed by President Michel Suleiman and the Change and Reform bloc challenging the 17-month extension.

The parliament extended its four-year mandate after the rival parties failed to agree on a new electoral system that would replace the 1960 law.

But for the third time on Tuesday, the half-Muslim half-Christian council was not able to meet over the boycott of three judges, two Shiites and one Druze, who have come under the political pressure of their leaders.

The head of the council warned against turning the lack of quorum “into a dangerous constitutional precedence” that goes along with several risks of ruling on any future challenge for political and not judicial reasons.

The judge called for amending the article in the council's by-laws on the required 8-member quorum.

“The quorum should be equalized with the seven votes required to issue a ruling,” he said.

Lawmakers should propose a draft-law to amend this article and “end the paralysis caused by this landmine.”

Suleiman lamented that the political interference in the council’s work had reached “dangerous” levels.

The meddling of officials in the affairs of the 10-member body has become “scary,” he said.

The judge also regretted that details of a meeting he had held with the boycotting judges on Tuesday were released to the press.

“They said the meeting would be away from the media spotlight but they leaked false information,” he told al-Joumhouria.

The council is scheduled to meet on Friday although the parliament's current mandate expires after midnight Thursday and the extension law becomes valid.

Friday's meeting is only aimed at announcing the council's failure to meet and that the parliament's term was automatically extended.

Suleiman said he will send a report to the president, the speaker, the caretaker PM and the Change and Reform bloc leader.

Comments 4
Thumb justice 19 June 2013, 08:32

The meddling of officials in the affairs of the 10-member body has become “scary,” he said.

I wonder who is meddling? hmmmmm...... I see one Druze member and 2 shiites not attending the meetings. So, who could it be that is meddling? Maybe the Lebanese Forces.... Maybe Future Movement.....hmmmmm? Maybe, the President himself?
What a farce!!!!

Thumb mckinl 19 June 2013, 09:29

Don't be so smug. M14 has been guilty of tearing apart Lebanon since the start of their boycott and the non-stop slander and lies they have been screaming through their media outlets about the opposition.

You'd better be aware that with both M8 and M14 negating the constitution there will not be any Lebanon but militias and the commencement of yet another civil war devastating Lebanon for good.

Missing samiam 19 June 2013, 14:01

have the people not showing up hand in their resignations--this is supposed to be a court of law, not a political toy as some want it to be.

Missing samiam 19 June 2013, 14:04

if you are so sure that M14 is going to lose, why is it that the members holding up the quorum are shi'te and druze?