Elie Aoun/Who should be the next Speaker of Parliament?/إيلي عون: الدستور لا ينص على ان يكون رئيس مجلس النواب نائباً، بل شيعياً، ولهذا يجب انتخاب شيعي محرر من الثنائية ومن خارج المجلس

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Who should be the next Speaker of Parliament?
Elie Aoun/May 21/2022

The Lebanese National Pact is based on the premise that the speaker of the National Assembly must be a Shia Muslim. The “Pact” is made to Lebanon’s “Shia Muslim”, not to the Amal Movement or Hizballah.

Secondly, the Taif Agreement states that “The Chamber spokesman and his deputy shall be elected for the duration of the chamber’s term.”

As it is written, the Taif Agreement does not make it a mandatory requirement for the speaker to be an existing Member of Parliament – although that has been the practice. In theory, the Speaker could be any Lebanese Shiite – from within or outside the Parliament.

Thirdly, all Shiite members of the new parliament are affiliated with the Amal Movement or Hizballah. The two organizations did not attain the “unilateral representation” status due to their popularity (above all other Shiites). Rather, they achieved this status by exercising force against Shiite parliamentary candidates whose campaigns were in opposition to Amal and Hizballah.

Some candidates were threatened, others were physically beaten, and some Shiites were harassed while attempting to attend opposition rallies. By the use of force and intimidation, some Shiite candidates chose to withdraw from the race.

There is plenty of evidence to show that the Amal and Hizballah’s “exclusive” Shiite representation in Parliament is due to unlawful tactics (fraud, use of force, vote rigging, manipulation, illegal interference in the election process, etc.). These illegal acts render the duo’s parliamentary representation unlawful. Therefore, they are not the sole or genuine representatives of the Shiite community which is largely “disenfranchised” – deprived of the right to freely express its votes or opinion.

For all the above reasons, it is justified to elect a qualified speaker of Parliament, someone who is not an existing Member of Parliament.