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Government Resignation

After a stormy government session fraught with turbulence and disagreement over the term extension of ISF Chief, Ashraf Rifi, and the formation of the Electoral Supervisory Committee, Premier Najib Mikati announced on Friday, 22nd of March 2013, the resignation of his government. Hence, the government continued to operate under the caretaker system until the formation of a new government by PM-designate, Tamam Salam. However, the attempts to form a new government have proved fruitless in the past three months, which have translated into further paralysis and void in the state apparatus.

Parliament

June 20, 2013 marked the end of the term of Parliament elected in 2009. As no agreement was reached over a new electoral law, and under the pretext of critical security reasons, Parliament convened a secret session on Friday, 31st of May, 2013 and approved law No. 246 whereby the mandate of Parliament was extended exceptionally until November 20, 2014. However, the extension of the legislature’s term is tantamount to void amid the skepticism surrounding the compelling security reasons for it.

Directorate of the Internal Security Forces

Having reached the age of 59, the compulsory retirement age for major generals, ISF Chief, General Ashraf Rifi retired on the 1st of April 2013. His term of office was supposed to be prolonged either by amending the law to raise the current retirement age or by virtue of a decree. Neither of these options materialized and Rifi left his post and no successor was appointed to assume his office. Being the highest in rank, the post was handed down to the Greek Catholic Brigadier General Roger Salem in defiance of the usual norm, which allocates this post to Sunni officers only. On June 28, Brigadier General Roger Salem will retire and Sunni Brigadier General Ibrahim Basbous is the most likely person to take the post. Should the attempts to form a government fail, Basbous will serve as acting Director General of the ISF until the date of his retirement on June 5, 2014.

The ISF Command Council consists of 11 members and has 5 vacant posts currently:

  • Sunni post of the ISF Director General held currently by acting Brigadier General Roger Salem.
  • Maronite Gendarmerie Chief Joseph Doueihi.
  • Druze Judicial Police Commander, Brigadier General Naji Masri.
  • Sunni Beirut Police Chief, General Dib Tbaili.
  • Sunni Head of the ISF Training Institute, Brigadier General Ibrahim Basbous.
  • Greek Catholic Head of the General Inspectorate, Brigadier General Roger Salem.
  • Shia’a Head of Central Administration, acting Brigadier General Assad Toufaily appointed following the referral of Brigadier General Mohammad Qassem to retirement on February 26, 2013.
  • Maronite Head of Social Services, acting Brigadier General Elias Habib, appointed following the referral of Brigadier General Lahoud Tannouri to retirement on January 11, 2013.
  • Maronite Head of the ISF Mobile Forces Unit, acting Brigadier General Elias Saadeh, appointed following the referral of Brigadier General Robert Jabbour to retirement on November 10, 2012.
  • Greek Orthodox Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, acting Brigadier General Pierre Nassar, appointed following the referral of Brigadier General Joseph Al-Hajal to retirement on October 26, 2012.
  • Shia’a Head of the Embassies’ Security Apparatus, Brigadier General Mahmoud Ibrahim, referred to retirement on April 1, 2013.

The decisions of the ISF Command Council require 8 votes out of 11 to become effective.

Lebanese Armed Forces Command and Military Council

The LAF Military Council consists of 6 members:

  • Commander in Chief (Maronite)
  • Chief of the General Staff (Druze)
  • General Inspector (Greek Orthodox)
  • Chief Administrator (Shia’a)
  • Secretary General of the Higher Defense Council (Sunni)
  • Full-time Member of the Council (Greek Catholic)

Three out of the six above posts have become vacant recently:

  • Post of the General Inspector vacated after Major General Michel Mounir was sent to retirement on May 1, 2013.
  • Post of the Full-time Member of the Council vacated after Major General Nicolas Ibrahim retired on May 2, 2013.
  • Post of the Chief Administrator vacated after Major General Abdul Rahman Chihaitli retired on May 24, 2013.

Chief of Staff, Major General Walid Salman will withdraw from service on August 7, 2013, just like the Commander in Chief, General Jean Qahwaji who is to retire on September 23, 2013. And so, the one position that remains occupied is that of the Secretary General of the Higher Defense Council, Mohammad Khair who is expected to remain in service until February 22, 2015.

Grade 1 Vacancies

The number of the Grade 1 public posts, or their equivalent, amounts to 155 in Lebanon. 48 of them are yet to be occupied, which brings the vacancy rate at this grade level to 31%. The vacant posts are distributed by date and sect as illustrated in the following Table 1.

Vavany posts by date and sect

Table 1

Post

Date of Vacancy

Previous Director General

Director General of Real Estate Affairs

February 2013

Beshara Karkafi

Director General of Customs

2010

Assaad Ghanem

Director General and President of the Public Housing Institute

2007

Antoine Chamoun

Member of the Higher Council of Customs

2006

Jean Halabi

Director General of the Ministry of Oil

2002

Samih Rayyes

Social and Agricultural General Inspector

2011

Elias Kamil Tannous El-Khoury

Director General of the Sugar Beet and Wheat Office

2008

Antoine El-Khoury

Director General of Archaeology

March 2010

Frederic Husseini (resignation)

Director General of National Archives

April 2010

Fouad Obeid

Vice President of the Council for Development and Reconstruction

January 2011

Alain Kurdahi (death)

Director General of Coops at the Ministry of Agriculture

March 2010

Joseph Tarabay (referred to the Disciplinary Council)

Director General of the Lebanese Standards Institute

2006

Antoing Semaan (dismissed from his post)

Director General of the National Institute of Administration

2008

Elie Assaf (held office as Director General at the Presidential Palace)

Vacant Posts Reserved by Convention to the Maronite (13)

Governor of Beirut

2005

Yaacoub Sarraf (resigned after his appointment as minister)

Director General of the Ministry of Labor

2000

Ratib Saliba

General Inspector at the Central Inspection

January 2012

 

Vacant Posts Reserved by Convention to the Greek Orthodox (3)

Director General of Roads and Buildings at Ministry of Public Works and Transport

November 2010

Fadi Al-Nammar (resignation)

President of the Beirut Stock Exchange

2009

Fadi Khalaf (resignation)

President of the Social and Economic Council

2008

Roger Nasnas (expiry of term)

Vacant Posts Reserved by Convention to the Greek Catholics (3)

Governor of the South

January 2010

Malek Abdul Khalek

Director General of Committees and Sessions in Parliament

April 2013

Riad Ghannam

Director General of the Ministry of the Displaced

2002

Khaled Abdul Samad

Vacant Posts Reserved by Convention to the Druze (3)

Director General of the Ministry of Economy and Commerce

2005

Fadi Makki (resignation)

Director General of the Ministry of Social Affairs

2005

Neemat Kanaan

President of the Higher Council of Customs

June 2011

Akram Chdid

Director General of Political and Refugees Affairs at the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities

2005

Atallah

Director General of the Social and Economic Council

April 2011

Farouq Yaghi

Director General of Parliament

2005

Adnan Daher (acting Director General currently)

Head of Legal Affairs Department at the Presidency of the Council of Ministers

2007

Othman Dalloul

Vacant Posts Reserved by Convention to the Shia’a (7)

Director General of the Internal Security Forces

April 1, 2013

Ashraf Rifi

Director General of the Personal Affairs at the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities

June 2011

Nada Al-Kasti

President of the Civil Service Board

February 2013

Khaled Qabbani

General Prosecutor

June 2013

Hatem Madi

Governor of Mount Lebanon

2002

Adnan Doumyati (dismissed from his post)

Director General of the National Institute of Administration

2008

Walid Al-Khatib

Member of the Higher Council of Customs

2005

Oussama Al-Baba

Director General of Civil Aviation

December 2010

Hamdi Chawq

Member of the Council for the South

2005

Nazih Raad

Director General of Urban Planning

2005

Josep Abdul Ahad, successor of the Sunni Saad Khaled

Director General of Ogero

2005

Mohammad Hamdan (dismissed from his post). This post is held currently by acting Director General of Investment and Maintenance at the Ministry of Telecommunications

Director General of the Legal and Administrative Affairs at the Presidency of the Republic

2006

Farouq Qabalan

Vacant Posts Reserved by Convention to the Sunni (12)

Seven Grade 1 jobs have been introduced recently but we are yet to find out their sectarian distribution. The new positions are the following:

  • Governor of Akkar
  • Governor of Baalbeck and Hermel
  • Mediator of the Republic
  • Head of the Liban Telecom company
  • Director General of the economic zone of Tripoli
  • Director General for the establishment and management of the industrial assembly centers
  • Head of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (held previously by an evangelical and is likely to be handed down to a Maronite)

Terms of the Tele Liban Director General and the presidents and members of the Council for Development and Reconstruction and the Investment Development Authority of Lebanon have also expired. Yet, they all continue to carry out their duties until finding the alternatives.

Vacancies in Other Grades

  • Grade 2: there are 568 Grade 2 jobs in Lebanon, of which 345 are vacant. The vacancy rate is as high as 60% in the Grade 2 public posts.
  • Grade 3: there are 4160 Grade 3 jobs in Lebanon, of which 2273 are vacant. The vacancy rate stands at 54% in the Grade 3 public posts.
  • Grade 4: there are 14243 Grade 4 jobs in Lebanon, of which 10425 are vacant. The vacancy rate jumps to 73.2% in the Grade 4 public posts.
  • Grade 5: there are 2903 Grade 5 jobs in Lebanon, of which 2393 or a staggering 80% are vacant.

The vacancy rates in public services show no signs of declining as days go by, especially amid disagreement over the public appointments due to the presence of rampant sectarian and political quotas. During its 20 months in power, Mikati’s government approved only 25 public appointments, noting that the country is expected to face further vacancies in the upcoming months due to the referral of many public employees to retirement. The possibility of filling the vacancies remains far-fetched amid failure to form a new government and chances are it might all wait until after the presidential elections in 2014, while serious fears arise over a potential vacuum in the country’s highest position should the political divides escalate. So will the Republic of Lebanon become a Republic of Void? 


 

 
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