Parliament’s decision to postpone elections is appealed by opposition MPs.


BEIRUT: On Tuesday, the Parliament decided to postpone the municipal elections for a year. Ten opposition MPs filed an appeal.

This year’s measure was approved on April 25 of the most recent legislative session, marking its third year of implementation. Following an earlier appeal filed by the Lebanese Forces (LF) last week, the ten MPs filed their appeal with the Constitutional Council on Tuesday.

Four Kataeb deputies (Samy and Nadim Gemayel, Salim Sayegh, and Elias Hankache), three Renewal Bloc deputies (Michel Moawad, Fouad Makhzoumi, and Achraf Rifi), two protest movement deputies (Waddah Sadek and Michel Douaihy), and independent Bilal Hocheimy are among the deputies who signed the appeal.

The appeal, which was written by attorney Lara Saadeh, is predicated on arguments akin to those put forth by LF. These arguments state that the postponement goes against multiple essential principles found in the Constitution’s preamble and Article 7, which deal with the ideas of cooperation, balance, and separation of powers.

The 1998 example

“The only reason to delay municipal elections is to serve the interests of the system and maintain its control over municipalities where it fears losing certain seats,” MP Waddah Sade said, characterizing the extension as “irrational,” according to remarks obtained by the National News Agency. The opposition frequently makes this charge, most notably against Hezbollah and the Free Patriot Movement (Aounist).According to the appeal, Parliament violated the “periodicity of elections,” thereby undermining the institutions that support democracy. The text also outlines the arguments put forth to support the delay, which include the ongoing hostilities between Hezbollah and the Israeli army in southern Lebanon, which are referred to as “exceptional circumstances” by those who support the postponement.

The opposition group of MPs cites the 1998 municipal elections as evidence that the fighting cannot justify a nationwide postponement because it only affects a small portion of Lebanese territory. In those municipalities, voting took place as usual throughout the country, with the exception of those in southern Lebanon, which was then under Israeli occupation, where voting took place a year later.

Holding the municipal elections in this context, the MP for Beirut’s second constituency continues, would instead be a means of “strengthening Lebanon’s municipalities” at a time when it is crucial to “protect and support the inhabitants of the South who have remained in the border areas and the displaced.”

Appeals to the Constitutional Council regarding a similar postponement of the municipal elections last year were also denied. In its statement at the time, the Council mentioned “the principle of continuity of public services.”

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