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Constitutional Framework
Lebanon Constitution
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.
Chapter III. The Executive Power
[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 sense
of 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 the
Government′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:
a. if the Prime Minister resigns;
b. if it loses more than a third of the members specified in the Decree forming it;
c. if the Prime Minister dies;
d. at the beginning of the term of the President of the Republic;
e. at the beginning of the term of the Chamber of Deputies;
f. 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.
(last updated: 05-October-2003)
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