BEIRUT

Lubnan

The president’s role and duties according to the Constitution

File - President Michel Sleiman arrives to attend a Cabinet session at Baabda Palace, Thursday, March 27, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

Chapter Four of Part Two of Lebanon’s Constitution extensively details the role of the “Executive Power,” which comprises the president of the republic, the prime minister and the Cabinet. Within Chapter Four, 15 articles – Articles 49 through 63 – specify the prerogatives and duties of the president. Following is a selection that summarizes the most significant aspects of the president’s role: Article 49 The president of the republic is the head 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 Cabinet.

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. The president’s term is 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.

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 and their effective cessation of service, or following retirement.

Article 50 Upon assuming office, the president of the republic shall take an oath of fidelity before the Parliament, to the 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 53 1. The president of the republic presides over the Cabinet when he wishes without participating in voting.

2. The president of the republic shall designate the prime minister in consultation with the Parliament speaker based on binding parliamentary consultations, the content of which he shall formally disclose to the latter.

3. He alone shall issue the decree which designates the prime minister.

4. He shall issue, in agreement with the prime minister, the decree appointing the Cabinet and the decrees accepting the resignation of ministers or their dismissal.

5. He alone shall issue the decrees accepting the resignation of the Cabinet or considering it resigned.

6. He shall forward to the Chamber of Deputies bills that are delivered to him by the Cabinet.

7. He shall accredit ambassadors and accept the credentials of ambassadors.

8. He shall preside over official functions and grant official decorations by decree.

9. He shall grant particular pardons by decree, but a general amnesty cannot be granted except by a law.

10. He shall address, when necessary, messages to the Parliament.

11. He may introduce, from outside the agenda, any urgent matter to the Cabinet.

12. He may, in agreement with the prime minister, call the Cabinet to an extraordinary session whenever he deems this it necessary.

Article 55 The president of the republic may, in accordance with the conditions stipulated in Articles 65 and 77 of this Constitution, ask the Cabinet to dissolve the Parliament before the expiration of its mandate. If the Cabinet, based on this request, decides to dissolve Parliament, the president shall issue the decree dissolving it, and in this case, the electoral bodies shall meet as provided for in Article 25, and the new Parliament shall be called to convene within fifteen days after the proclamation of the election. The Parliament’s bureau shall continue to function until the election or a new Parliament.

If elections are not held within the time limit specified in Article 25 of the Constitution, the decree dissolving Parliament shall be considered null and void, and the Parliament shall continue to exercise its powers according to the stipulations of the Constitution.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on April 24, 2014, on page 2.

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Summary

Chapter Four of Part Two of Lebanon's Constitution extensively details the role of the "Executive Power," which comprises the president of the republic, the prime minister and the Cabinet. Within Chapter Four, 15 articles – Articles 49 through 63 – specify the prerogatives and duties of the president.

Article 55 The president of the republic may, in accordance with the conditions stipulated in Articles 65 and 77 of this Constitution, ask the Cabinet to dissolve the Parliament before the expiration of its mandate. If the Cabinet, based on this request, decides to dissolve Parliament, the president shall issue the decree dissolving it, and in this case, the electoral bodies shall meet as provided for in Article 25, and the new Parliament shall be called to convene within fifteen days after the proclamation of the election.


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