Powers

                                      Part A. General Provisions

Article 16  Legislative Power, One Chamber
Legislative power is vested in a single body, the Chamber of Deputies.
 
Article 17  Executive Power, Council of Ministers
Executive power is entrusted to the Council of Ministers to be exercised it in accordance with the conditions laid down in this constitution.
 
Article 18  Bills
The Parliament and the Council of Ministers have the right to propose laws.  No law shall be promulgated until it has been adopted by the Chamber.
 
Article 19  Constitutional Council
A Constitutional Council is established to supervise the constitutionality of laws and to arbitrate conflicts that arise from parliamentary and presidential elections.  The President, the President of the Parliament, the Prime Minister, along with anyten Members of Parliament, have the right to consult this Council on matters that relate to the constitutionality of laws.  The officially recognized heads of religious communities have the right to consult this Council only on laws relating to personal status, the freedom of belief and religious practice, and the freedom of religious education.  The rules governing the organization, operation, composition, and modes of appeal of the Council are decided by a special law.
 
Article 20  [Judicial Power]
Judicial power is to be exercised by the tribunals of various levels and jurisdictions.  It functions within the limits of an order established by the law and offering the necessary guarantees to judges and litigants.  The limits and conditions for the protection of the judges are determined by law.  The judges are independent in the exercise of their duties.  The decisions and judgments of all courts are rendered and executed in the name of the Lebanese People.
 
Article 21  [Electoral Rights]
Every Lebanese citizen who has completed his twenty-first year is an elector provided he fulfills the conditions laid down in the electoral law.
 
                                   Part B. The Legislative Power

Article 22  [Senate]
With the election of the first Parliament on a national, non-confessional basis, a Senate is established in which all the religious communities are represented.  Its authority is limited to major national issues.
 
Article 23  Eligibility to the Senate
{abolished 1927}
 
Article 24  Electoral Laws
(1) The Chamber of Deputies is composed of elected members; their number and the method of their election is determined by the electoral laws in effect.  Until such time as the Chamber enacts new electoral laws on a non-confessional basis, the distribution of seats is according to the following principles:
  1. Equal representation between Christians and Muslims.
  2. Proportional representation among the confessional groups within each religious community.
  3. Proportional representation among geographic regions.
(2) Exceptionally, and for one time only, the seats that are currently vacant, as well as the new seats that have been established by law, are to be filled by appointment, all at once, and by a majority of two thirds of the Government of National Unity.  This is to establish equality between Christians and Muslims as stipulated in the Document of National Accord [The Taif  Agreement].  The electoral laws will specify the details regarding the implementation of this clause.
 
Article 25  Dissolution
Should the Chamber of Deputies be dissolved, the Decision of dissolution must provide for the holding of new elections in accordance with Article 24 and within a period not exceeding three months.
 
Article 26  Location of Government and Parliament
The Government and the Chamber of Deputies shall be located in Beirut.
 
Article 27  Representation
A member of the Chamber represents the whole nation.  Norestriction or stipulation may be imposed upon his mandate by his electors.
 
Article 28  No Incompatibility
A Deputy may also occupy a ministerial position.  Ministers, all or in part, may be selected from among the members of the Chamber or from persons outside the Chamber.
 
Article 29  Incompatibility by Law
Cases in which persons are disqualified from becoming Deputies are determined by law.
 
Article 30  Validating Elections
The Deputies alone have competence to judge the validity of their mandate.  No Deputy's mandate may be invalidated except by a majority of two thirds of the votes of the entire membership.  This clause is automatically cancelled as soon as the Constitutional Council is established and as soon as the laws relating to it are implemented.
 
Article 31  Illegal Sessions
Meetings of the Chamber outside those set for legal sessions are unlawful and ipso facto null and void.
 
Article 32  Ordinary Sessions
The Chamber meets each year in two ordinary sessions.  The first session opens on the first Tuesday following 15 March and continues until the end of May.  The second session begins on the first Tuesday following 15 Oct; its meetings is reserved for the discussion of and voting on the budget before any other work.  This session lasts until the end of the year.
 
Article 33  Extraordinary Sessions
The ordinary sessions begin and end automatically on the dates fixed in Article 32.  The President of the Republic in consultation with the Prime Minister may summon the Chamber to extraordinary sessions by a Decree specifying the dates of the opening and closing of the extraordinary sessions as well as the agenda.  The President of the Republic is required to convoke the Chamber if an absolute majority of the total membership so requests.

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.
 
Article 35  Publicity
The meetings of the Chamber are public.  However, at the request of the Government or of five Deputies, the Chamber may sit in secret sessions.  It may then decide whether to resume the discussion of the same question in public.
 
Article 36  Voting Process
Votes are to be cast verbally or by the members standing, except for elections when the ballot is secret.  With respect to laws in general and on questions of confidence, the vote is always taken by roll call and the responses are made in an audible voice.
 
Article 37  Vote of No-Confidence
Every Deputy has the absolute right to raise the question of no-confidence in the government during ordinary or extraordinary sessions.  Discussion of and voting on such a proposal may not take place until at least five days aftersubmission to the secretariat of the Chamber and its communication to the ministers concerned.
 
Article 38  Reintroduction of Bills
No Bill that has been rejected by the Chamber may be re-
introduced during the same session.
 
Article 39  [Indemnity]
No member of the Chamber may be prosecuted because of ideas and opinions expressed during the period of his mandate.
 
Article 40  [Immunity]
No member of the Chamber may, during the sessions, be prosecuted or arrested for a criminal offense without the permission of the Chamber, except when he is caught in the act.
 
Article 41  [Re-election]
Should a seat in the Chamber become vacant, the election of a successor begins within two months.  The mandate of the new member does not exceed that of the old member whose place he is taking; however, should the seat in the Chamber become vacant during the last six months of its mandate, no successor may be elected.
 
Article 42  [General Elections]
General elections for the renewal of the Chamber shall take place within a sixty day period preceeding the expiration of its mandate.
 
Article 43  [Rules of Procedure]
The Chamber draws up its own internal rules and procedures.
 
Article 44  [First Session]
(1) Each time a new Chamber is elected, the Chamber meets under the presidency of the oldest member and the secretariat or the two youngest.  It will then elect separately, by a secret ballot and by an absolute majority of the votes cast, the President and the Vice President of the Chamber to hold office for the length or the Chamber's term.  At the third ballot, a relative majority is sufficient.  Should the votes be equal, the oldest candidate is considered elected.
(2) Every time a new Chamber or Deputies is elected, as well as in the October session or each year, the Chamber elects two Secretaries by secret ballot according to the majority stipulated in the first part or this article.
(3) The Chamber may, once only, two years after the election or its President and his Deputy, and in the first session it holds, withdraw its confidence from the President of the Chamber or his Deputy by a Decision of two thirds of the Chamber, based on a petition signed by at least ten Deputies.  The Chamber, at such point, must hold an immediate session to fill the vacant post.
 
Article 45  [Presence]
Members of the Chamber may only vote when they are present at the meeting.  Voting by proxy shall not be permitted.
 
Article 46  [Parliamentary Order]
The Chamber has the exclusive right to maintain order in its meetings through its President.
 
Article 47  [Petitions]
Petitions to the Chamber may not be presented except in writing.  They may not be presented verbally or at the bar of the Chamber.
 
Article 48  [Remuneration]
The remuneration of members of the Chamber is determined by law.
 
                                      Part C. The Executive Power

                             Section 1.  The President of the Republic

Article 49  Presidential Powers
(1) The President of  the Republic is the bead of the state and the symbol of the nation's unity. He shall safeguard the constitution and Lebanon's independence, unity, and territorial integrity.  The President shall preside over the Supreme Defense Council and be the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces which fall under the authority of the Council of Ministers.
(2) The President of the Republic shall be elected by secret ballot and by a twothirds majority of the Chamber of Deputies. After a first ballot, an absolute majority shall be sufficient. The President's term is for six years. He may not be re-elected until six years after the expiration of his last mandate. No one may be elected to the Presidency of the Republic unless he fulfills the conditions of eligibility for the Chamber of Deputies.
(3) It is also not possible to elect judges, Grade One civil servants, or their equivalents in all public institutions to the Presidency during their term or office or within two years following the date of their resignation or their leaving office for whatever reason.
 
Article 50  [Oath]
Upon assuming office, the President of the Republic shall take an oath of fidelity before the Parliament to the Lebanese Nation and the constitution in the following terms:
"I swear by Almighty God to observe the Constitution and the laws of the Lebanese Nation and to maintain the independence of Lebanon and its territorial integrity."
 
Article 51  Promulgation of Laws
The President of the Republic promulgates the laws after they have been approved by the Chamber in accordance with the time limits specified by the constitution.  He asks for the publication or these laws, and he may not modify these laws or exempt anyone from complying with their provisions.
 
Article 52  Negotiation of International Treaties
The President of the Republic negotiates international treaties in coordination with the Prime Minister.  These treaties are not considered ratified except after agreement of the Council of Ministers.  They are to be made known to the Chamber whenever the national interest and security of the state permit.  However, treaties involving the finances of the state, commercial treaties, and in general treaties that cannot be renounced every year are not considered ratified until they have been approved by the Chamber.
 
Article 53  List of Additional Presidential Powers
1. The President presides over the Council of Ministers when he wishes without participating in voting.
2. The President designates the Prime Minister in consultation with the President of the Chamber of Deputies based on parliamentary consultations which are binding and the content of which the President formally discloses to the Prime Minister.
3. The President alone issues the Decree which designates the Prime Minister.
4. He issues, in agreement with the Prime Minister, the decree appointing the Cabinet and the decrees accepting the resignationof Ministers.
5. He issues, on his own authority, the decrees accepting the resignation of the Cabinet or considering it resigned.
6. He forwards to the Chamber of Deputies Bills that are delivered to him by the Council of Ministers.
7. He accredits ambassadors and accept the credentials of ambassadors.
8. He presides over official functions and grants official decorations by Decree.
9. He grants particular pardons by Decree, but a general amnesty cannot be granted except by a law.
10. He addresses, when necessary, letters to the Chamber of Deputies.
11. He may introduce, from outside the agenda, any urgent matter to the council of Ministers.
12. He may, in agreement with the Prime Minister, call the Council of Ministers to an extraordinary session, whenever he deems this necessary.
 
Article 54  Countersignature
The decisions of the President must be countersigned by the Prime Minister and the Minister or Ministers concerned except the Decree designating a new Prime Minister and the Decree accepting the resignation of the Cabinet or considering it resigned.  Decrees issuing laws must be countersigned by the Prime Minister.
 
Article 55  [Dissolution of Parliament by Decree]
(1) The President of the Republic may, in accordance with the conditions stipulated in Articles 65 and 77 of this constitution, ask the Council of Ministers to dissolve the Chamber of Deputies before the expiration of its mandate.  If the Council, based on this request, decides to dissolve the Chamber of Deputies, the President issues the Decree dissolving it, and in this case, the electoral bodies meets as provided for in Article 25, and the new Chamber is to be called to convene within fifteen days after the proclamation of the election.
(2) The administrative staff of the Chamber of Deputies continues to function until the election or a new Chamber.
(3) If elections are not held within the time limit specified in Article 25 of the constitution, the Decree dissolving the Chamber is considered null and void, and the Chamber of Deputies continues to exercise its powers according to the stipulations of the constitution.
 
Article 56  Promulgation Time Limits
(1) The President of the Republic promulgates the laws which have been adopted within one month of their transmission to the Government.  He must promulgate laws that were declared urgent by a special Decision of the Chamber within five days.
(2) The President issues decrees and requests their promulgation; he has the right to ask the Council of Ministers to review any Decision that the Chamber has taken within fifteen days of the decision's transmission to the Presidency.  If the Council of Ministers insists on the Decision or if the time limit passes without the Decree being issued or returned, the Decision or Decree is considered legally operative and must be promulgated.
 
Article 57  [Presidential Veto]
The President of the Republic, after consultation with the Council of Ministers, has the right to request the reconsideration of a law once during the period prescribed for its promulgation.  This request may not be refused.  When the President exercises this right, he is not required to promulgatethis law until it has been reconsidered and approved by an absolute majority of all the members legally composing the Chamber.  If the time limits pass without the law being issued or returned, the law is considered legally operative and must be promulgated.
 
Article 58  Urgent Bills
Every Bill the Council of Ministers deems urgent and in which this urgency is indicated in the decree of transmission to the Chamber of Deputies may be issued by the President within forty days following its communication to the Chamber, after including it on the agenda of a general meeting, reading it aloud before the Chamber, and after the expiration of the time limit without the Chamber acting on it.
 
Article 59  Adjourning the Chamber
The President of the Republic may adjourn the Chamber for a period not exceeding one month, but he may not do so twice during the same session.
 
Article 60  Responsibility
(1) While performing his functions, the President of the Republic may not be held responsible except when he violates the constitution or in the case of high treason.
(2) However, his responsibility in respect of ordinary crimes is subject to the ordinary laws.  For such crimes, as well as for violation of the constitution and for high treason, he may not be impeached except by a majority of two thirds of the total membership of the Chamber of Deputies.  He is to be tried by the Supreme Council provided for in Article 80.  The functions of Public Prosecutor of the Supreme Council are performed by a judge appointed by the Supreme Council in plenary session.
 
Article 61  Suspension after Impeachement
Should the President of the Republic be impeached, he is suspended from his functions.  The presidency remains vacant until the Supreme Council has settled the matter.
 
Article 62  [Vacancy]
Should the Presidency become vacant for any reason whatsoever, the Council of Ministers exercises the powers of the President by delegation.
 
Article 63  [Remuneration]
The remuneration of the President of the Republic is determined by a law.  It may not be increased or reduced during his term of office.
 
                                  Section 2.  The Prime Minister
 
Article 64  Responsibility and Powers
The Prime Minister is the Head of Government and its representative.  He speaks in its name and is responsible for executing the general policy that is set by the Council of Ministers.  He exercises the following powers:
1. He heads the Council of Ministers and is ex  officio Deputy Head of the Supreme Defense Council.
2. He conducts the parliamentary consultations involved in forming a Cabinet.  He signs, with the President, the Decree forming the Cabinet.  The Cabinet must present its general statement or policy to the Chamber and gain its confidence within thirty days of the date of issuance of the Decree in which the Cabinet was formed.  The Cabinet does not exercise its powers before it gains the Chamber's confidence nor after it has resigned or is considered resigned, except in the narrow senseof managing affairs.
3. He presents the Government's general policy statements before the Chamber of Deputies.
4. He signs, along with the President, all decrees, except the Decree which designates him the head of the Government, and the Decree accepting the Cabinet's resignation or considering it resigned.
5. He signs the Decree calling for an extraordinary parliamentary session, decrees issuing laws, and requests for reviewing laws.
6. He calls the Council of Ministers into session and sets its agenda, and he informs the President and the Ministers beforehand of the subjects included on the agenda and of the urgent subjects that will be discussed.
7. He supervises the activities of the public administrations and institutions, coordinates among the Ministers and provides general guidance to ensure the proper progress of affairs.
8. He holds working meetings with the competent authorities in the Government in the presence of the concerned Minister.
 
                                Section 3.  The Council of Ministers
 
Article 65  Powers
Executive authority is vested in the Council of Ministers.  It is the authority to which the armed forces are subject.  Among the powers that it exercises are the following:
1. It sets the general policy of the Government in all fields, prepares Bills and organizational Decrees and makes the decisions necessary for implementing them.
2. It watches over the execution of laws and regulations and supervises the activities of all the Government's branches including the civil, military, and security administrations and institutions without exception.
3. It appoints Government employees and dismisses them and accepts their resignations according to the law.
4. It dissolves the Chamber of Deputies upon the request of the President of the Republic if the Chamber of Deputies, for no compelling reasons, fails to meet during one of its regular periods and fails to meet throughout two successive extraordinary periods, each longer than one month, or if the Chamber returns an annual budget plan with the aim or paralyzing the Government.  This right cannot be exercised a second time if it is for the same reasons which led to the dissolution of the Chamber the first time.
5. The Council of Ministers meets in a locale specifically set aside for it, and the President chairs its meetings when he attends.  The legal quorum for a Council meeting is a majority of two thirds of its members.  It makes its decisions by consensus.  If that is not possible, it makes its decisions by vote of the majority of attending members.  Basic national issues require the approval of two thirds of the members of the Council named in the Decree forming the Cabinet.  Basic national issues are considered the following:
The amendment of the constitution, the declaration of a state of emergency and its termination, war and peace, general mobilization, international agreements and treaties, the annual government budget, comprehensive and longterm development projects, the appointment of Grade One government employees and their equivalents, the review of the administrative map, the dissolution of the Chamber of Deputies, electoral laws, nationality laws, personal status laws, and the dismissal of Ministers.
 
Article 66  Ministries, Responsibility
Only Lebanese who satisfy the conditions for deputization may assume ministerial posts.  The Ministers administer theGovernment's services and assume the responsibility of applying the laws and regulations, each one according to the affairs of his administration and what is specific to them.  Ministers are collectively responsible before the Chamber for the general policy of the Government and individually responsible for their personal actions.
 
Article 67  Ministers in Parliament
Ministers may attend the Chamber if they so desire, and they have the right to be heard whenever they request to speak.  They may be assisted by whomever they select from among the officials of their Departments.
 
Article 68  Vote of No-Confidence
When the Chamber, in accordance with Article 37, passes a vote of noconfidence in a Minister, that Minister is required to resign.
 
Article 69  Government Resignation
(1) The Government is considered resigned in the following circumstances:
  1. if the Prime Minister resigns;
  2. if it loses more than a third of the members specified in the Decree forming it;
  3. if the Prime Minister dies;
  4. at the beginning of the term of the President of the Republic;
  5. at the beginning of the term of the Chamber of Deputies;
  6. when it loses the confidence of the Chamber of Deputies based on the Chamber's initiative or based on the Council's initiative to gain the Chamber's confidence.
(2) Ministers are to be dismissed by a Decree signed by the President and the Prime Minister in accordance with Article 65 of the constitution.
(3) When the Council resigns or is considered resigned, the Chamber of Deputies is automatically considered in extraordinary session until a new Council has been formed and has gained the Chamber's confidence.
 
Article 70  Impeachment
(1) The Chamber of Deputies has the right to impeach the Prime Minister and Ministers for high treason or for serious neglect of their duties.  The Decision to impeach may not be taken except by a majority of two thirds of the total membership of the Chamber.
(2) A special law is to be issued to determine the conditions of the civil responsibility of the Prime Minister and individual Ministers.
 
Article 71  Judicial Impeachment Proceedings
The impeached Prime Minister or Minister are tried by the Supreme Council.
 
Article 72  Consequences of Impeachment
A Prime Minister or Minister leaves office as soon as the Decision of impeachment concerning him is issued.  If he resigns, his resignation does not prevent judicial proceedings from being instituted or continued against him.