Lebanon: Government OKs constitutional amendment for presidential election
Prime Minister Fouad Saniora's Government on Monday adopted a constitutional amendment bill to allow the election of Lebanon's army commander Gen. Michel Suleiman president. According to Naharnet, the government also approved a motion calling for an extraordinary legislative session by parliament as of January 1, to tackle the amendment bill.
The bill amends the third clause of article 49 of the constitution, which bars the election of senior public employees for president.
The move by the Saniora Government is apparently aimed at cornering Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri into either accepting the constitutional amendment and calling the house to tackle and ratify it, or rejecting the approach and, therefore, appearing as leading an effort to foil Suleiman's election.
Berri has already said that he will not receive the constitutional amendment draft law which the government referred to him on Monday. "The draft law will be written down by an unconstitutional and illegitimate government," Berri told al-Diyar daily in remarks published Monday morning.
He said: "We don't need to amend the constitution if they want to elect (Army Commander) Gen. Suleiman president as article 74 is clear in this matter." Berri stressed that he will keep calling for presidential sessions until an agreement was reached.
Hizbullah-led opposition sources warned Premier Fouad Saniora's government against taking executive decisions. The sources said the "opposition will respond by taking appropriate measures."