…Is exactly what we need at the moment and from now until the election of a new President.
The Opposition has so far failed to achieve any of its objectives and is now focusing on the presidential elections, given that the issue of the Tribunal is considered by many now to be a “done deal”. Opposition leaders are deploying all their efforts to prevent the election of a president that does not have their blessing, hiding behind a twisted interpretation of Article 49-2 of the Constitution:
The President of the Republic shall be elected by secret ballot and by a two thirds majority of the Chamber of Deputies. After a first ballot, an absolute majority shall be sufficient (…)
No where does the article mention a quorum. It only mentions the number of votes a candidate must have to be elected. The issue of the quorum of a parliamentary session is covered by Article 34 of the Constitution:
Article 34 [Quorum]
The Chamber is not validly constituted unless the majority of the total membership is present. Decisions are to be taken by a majority vote. Should the votes be equal, the question under consideration is deemed rejected.
As it is clearly mentioned in the above article, the quorum is constituted of “the majority of the total membership”, meaning half +1 of the MPs. So, unless otherwise noted, this is the legal quorum. It is widely assumed that the Legislator (المشرع) clearly states his intention and demands: When the Constitution requires a quorum of 2/3, it says so clearly, in no ambiguous terms, just like in Article 79-1:
When a draft law dealing with a constitutional amendment is submitted to the Chamber, it cannot discuss it or vote upon it except when a majority of two thirds of the members lawfully composing the Chamber are present. Voting is by the same majority.
The battle for the Presidency has already started. In some cases, it is not enough to have the law by your side, popular support is the key. As is often the case in Lebanon, it doesn’t matter where the truth lies as long as you shape popular beliefs and opinion to suit your ambitions and make people believe that what you’re saying is true. Masses provide credibility. This is what the opposition is currently doing and this is where March 14 should counter its attacks. Some of the country’s most popular and influential media outlets are either owned by or are close to March 14 and what it represents. It is time they make use of this advantage and go beyond broadcasting emotional and/or sarcastic videos here and there, which does not contribute much at the end of the day. I want to see informative clips, legal experts and politicians educating the public. Let the coming months turn into an intensive course on constitutional law for the Lebanese.