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Lebanon’s Constitutional Council Removes Mustaqbal MP from Office

Lebanon’s Constitutional Council Removes Mustaqbal MP from Office

Friday, 22 February, 2019 - 08:45
Hariri met Jamali on Thursday (NNA)
Beirut - Nazeer Rida
Lebanon’s Constitutional Council annulled on Thursday the parliamentary membership of Dima Jamali, who is from the Mustaqbal Movement of Prime Minister Saad Hariri, declaring Tripoli's fifth Sunni seat in the legislature vacant.

The decision was announced by head of the Council Judge Issam Sleiman during a press conference to brief the result of an electoral appeal contesting the results of the May legislative elections.

Sleiman said by-elections must be conducted within two months, as per article 41 of the Constitution.

Although Hariri did not comment on the decision during a cabinet session held Thursday at the Presidential Palace, observers expressed belief that the PM was unsatisfied with the Council’s finding that reversed the official results of the Interior Ministry.

The PM received Jamali at the Center House in Beirut and asked her to run again for the Sunni seat in Tripoli.

"After hearing the ruling of the Constitutional Council, we must all respect it, knowing that there was a political intervention ... I would like to thank Prime Minister Hariri for renewing his confidence in me,” Jamali said after the talks.

The Council’s decision, which is considered the first of its kind since 2002, opened a debate on suspicious political interference in its decision-making.

Informed political sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that after annulling Jamali’s membership, the Council fell short on announcing the immediate victory of her opponent, Tah Naji.

Other sources from the Mustaqbal Movement said one of the Council’s members changed his vote by backing the decision to annul Jamali’s membership after coming under political pressure.

“Two members of the council had voted against the decision in the first round of the Council’s meeting Thursday, before one of them changing his stance the last minute,” the sources said.

The Council requires the votes of seven of its ten members to annul the membership of a lawmaker.

Interior Minister Raya El Hassan announced Thursday that by-elections will take place within two months, as stipulated by the Constitution.

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