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Article 49 of the Lebanese Constitution
The third paragraph of Article 49 of the Lebanese Constitution as amended in 1990 pursuant to the Taef Accord provides that:
“It is also not possible to elect judges, Grade 1 civil servants, or their equivalents in all public institutions to the Presidency during their term or office or within two years following the date of their resignation and their effective cessation of service, or following retirement.”
This paragraph did not exist previously. For example, in 1958, Army Commander General Fouad Chehab was elected president of the republic without any alteration of the constitution and the same applied to Banque du Liban Governor Elias Sarkis in 1976. 
It is said that this paragraph was added upon the request of Syrian President Hafez Assad when the Arab Tripartite Committee showed him the Taef Accord draft. Assad was at the time shocked by the anti-Syrian positions of the then Army Commander Michel Aoun who was seeking presidency. Since other Grade 1 civil servants did not have as much power as the Banque du Liban Governor and the Army Commander, this addition was mainly aimed at these two to prevent their arrival to the presidency through their use of the currency markets and the army respectively. However, this article was amended in 1998 to permit the election of Army Commander Emile Lahhoud as president.

Election of President Michel Suleiman
Upon the expiry of President Emile Lahoud’s extended term on November 24, 2007, no successor was elected and the presidential office remained vacant. This vacuum dragged on until finally Lebanon’s rival political factions convened in the Qatari capital, Doha, and an agreement was reached over resolving the political crisis, the electoral law and the election of consensus candidate General Michel Suleiman as president of the republic. To this end, Parliament held a session on Sunday, May 25, 2008 during which the first two paragraphs of Article 49 of the Lebanese Constitution were read, without any mention of the aforementioned third paragraph, which stipulates resigning two years before the date of election. Article 74, which provides that, should the presidency become vacant, the legislature shall meet to elect a successor, was also read during the session.

During this session, former Speaker Hussein Husseini proposed suspending the provisions that prevented the election of Suleiman in Article 49 and invoking Article 73. ‘The government, which is present now, may convene in a separate hall and initiate the revision of Article 49. There doesn’t seem to be any problem with that because the chamber is holding an ordinary session and therefore the amendment would be approved in half an hour and the process of the election would be perfectly right. I hope that my proposal will be taken into consideration, for it spares us many question marks. Nevertheless, if you choose to ignore it, I will adhere to what the majority decides.’ 

“As you have exactly said, after the expiry of the term, the convening of Parliament shall fall under Article 73, and therefore the timeframes shall no longer apply. If we endorse your proposition, we will be breaching the Constitution,” said Speaker Nabih Berri. 

Prior to Hussein Husseini’s interposition, MP Boutros Harb also made a statement reiterating his support of General Michel Suleiman as president yet objecting to the election mechanism. “Did Article 74 of the Constitution stipulate that the timeframes set in paragraph 3 of Article 49, which was not read at the beginning of this session, may be omitted? Why beat around the bush? Why can’t we just amend this Article and elect a president in a perfectly constitutional manner?”

Harb wondered what would happen if every time there were presidential elections, a group of the Lebanese would use their one-third veto power to boycott the elections until the expiry of the two-month period.  “Shall we apply Article 74 once again and allow a candidate prohibited from running for presidency except after resigning from his post two years earlier to become president?” he added.

“As if you, Sheikh Boutros, implement the constitution and the rest of us don’t,” responded Speaker Nabih Berri.

Along the same lines, MP Nayla Mouawad noted that the election of Michel Suleiman without a constitutional amendment breaches the Constitution. Mouawad expressed reservations over the election mechanism because it could establish a dangerous precedent.
All these constitutional objections fell on deaf ears and Suleiman was elected President of the Republic without any amendments to the Constitution. He obtained 118 votes out of 127. The remaining 10 included 7 blank votes and 3 votes, one for Nassib Lahoud, one for Jean Oubeid and one for Rafik Hariri. 

Article 73
One month at least and two months at most before the expiration of the term of office of the President of the Republic, Parliament shall be convened by its Speaker to elect the new President of the Republic. However, should it not be convened for this purpose, Parliament shall meet automatically on the tenth day preceding the expiration of the President’s term of office.

Article 74
Should the Presidency become vacant through the death or resignation of the President or for any other cause, Parliament shall meet immediately and by virtue of the law to elect a successor. If Parliament happens to be dissolved at the time the vacancy occurs, the electoral bodies shall be convened without delay and, as soon as the elections have taken place, Parliament meets by virtue of the law.