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Constitutional Framework
Lebanon Constitution
[Part] B. Powers
[Chapter] I. General Provisions
Article 16 [Legislative Power, One Chamber] Legislative power is vested in a single body, the Chamber of Deputies.
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.
[Chapter] II. 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:
a. Equal representation between Christians and Muslims.
b. Proportional representation among the confessional groups within each religious community.
c. 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. No restriction 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 after
submission 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 F. On the Abolition of Political Confessionalism
Article 95 [National Committee]
(1) The first Chamber or Deputies which is elected on the basis of equality between Muslims and Christians takes the appropriate measures to realize the abolition of political confessionalism according to a transitional plan. A National Committee is to be formed, headed by the President of the Republic, including, in addition to the President of the Chamber of Deputies and the Prime Minister, leading political, intellectual, and social figures.
(2) The tasks of this Committee are to study and propose the means to ensure the abolition of confessionalism, propose them to the Chamber of Deputies and the Ministers, and supervise the execution of the transitional plan.
(3) During the transitional phase:
a. The confessional groups are to be represented in a just and equitable fashion in the formation of the Cabinet.
b. The principle of confessional representation in public service
jobs, in the judiciary, in the military and security institutions, and in public and mixed agencies are to be cancelled in accordance with the requirements of national reconciliation; they shall be replaced by the principle of expertise and competence. However, Grade One posts and their equivalents are exempt from this rule, and the posts must be distributed equally between Christians and Muslims without reserving any particular job for any confessional group but rather applying the principles of expertise and competence.
(last updated: 05-October-2003)
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