BEIRUT: This fall’s parliamentary election has been canceled altogether, according to former Interior Minister Ziad Baroud, over the Cabinet’s failure to sign the decree calling on the electorate to take part in the polls.
“The failure to issue a decree to call for the electoral committees by officials, before the legal, binding day, has led to the cancellation of the scheduled election,” Baroud said Tuesday in a statement aimed at clarifying the controversy over the decree.
“Unfortunately, this dangerous negligence cannot be amended now unless [lawmakers] amend the election law itself,” he added. “The purpose behind [the failure] could be to impose a status quo and once again extend Parliament's mandate in an illegal manner.”
The Cabinet failed to meet the legal deadline to publish a decree calling on the electorate to vote in parliamentary polls scheduled for Nov. 16. The decree should have been published before Monday, 90 days before the election.
Lawmakers have been in talks over the possibility of extending Parliament’s mandate for the second time in less than two years, citing security concerns. The presidential vacuum also throws the election into doubt, as the head of state must appoint a new prime minister and Cabinet after parliamentary elections.
Baroud explained that calling on the electorate to take part in the polls was effectively the means by which the Cabinet scheduled parliamentary elections.
“The Constitution stipulates that the election should be held on a single day, a Sunday, and the last Sunday before Parliament's mandate expires is Nov. 16, which means that the election can no longer be held on that day in light of the 90-day rule,” he wrote.
“The decree ... is issued by the Interior Ministry and includes the signatures of both the prime minister and the president ... however, in light of the presidential void, the powers of the president are vested in the Cabinet, which agreed to unanimously approve any decree.”
In light of the presidential void, the Cabinet has agreed on a governing mechanism requiring all 24 ministers to sign any decree the government passes.