Prime Minister of Lebanon
|Prime Minister of the
|Member of||Council of Ministers|
|Residence||Grand Serail, Beirut|
|Appointer||President of Lebanon|
|Term length||Duration of the parliamentary convocation (4 years)[nb 1]|
|Inaugural holder||Riad Solh
25 September 1943
|Formation||Constitution of Lebanon
23 May 1926
|Website||Lebanese Government Website|
The Prime Minister of Lebanon, officially the President of the Council of Ministers, is the head of government and the head of the Council of Ministers. The Prime Minister is appointed (and removed) by the President of Lebanon, with no confirmation needed from the Parliament of Lebanon. By convention, he is always a Sunni Muslim.
The office was created on 23 May 1926, when the constitution of the state of Greater Lebanon was promulgated. In the summer of 1943, when the National Pact was agreed, it was decided that the office of the Prime Minister would always be reserved for a Sunni Muslim. From the creation of the office in 1926 to the end of the Lebanese Civil War, the constitution made little mention of the roles and duties of the office, and most of the office's powers were exercised through informal means rather than through constitutional procedures. Following the end of the Civil War and the ratification of the Ta'if Accord, the responsibilities of the Prime Minister were codified and clearly listed in the Constitution.
Differences with French constitution
While the 1926 Constitution of Greater Lebanon was roughly modeled after the French constitution (Greater Lebanon being under French mandate), the office of the Prime Minister in Lebanon is notably significantly weaker in Lebanon than in France, for the President is the sole person who can dismiss him (at will), while in France the Prime Minister is appointed by the President, and can only be removed by the Parliament through a vote of no confidence. This means that the Prime Minister of Lebanon must be much more deferential to the President than his French counterpart.
Past irregularities in the office of the Prime Minister
Twice in the past, when the president resigned or shortly before his term expired, the president broke the National Pact and appointed a Maronite Christian with the justification that he would assume the powers of the presidency.
During the Lebanese Civil War, outgoing President Amine Gemayel dismissed incumbent Prime Minister Selim Hoss and appointed Army General-in-chief Michel Aoun as Prime Minister 15 minutes before the expiry of his term. Hoss refused his dismissal, and this led to the creation of a dual government; one, mainly civilian and Muslim in West Beirut, and the other, mainly military and Christian in East Beirut.
Responsibilities and powers
The Prime Minister is the President of the Council of Ministers and the head of government. In addition, he is the deputy chair of the Supreme Defense Council.
His responsibilities are the following:
- Assume the negotiations for the formation of the government with parliament.
- Counter-signs all decrees signed by the President, except for the one appointing him or considering the government resigned.
- Present the Council of Minister's program to the House of Deputies.
- He presides over the meetings of the Council of Ministers, except when the President attends, in which case he presides over them.
- In case of a vacancy in the Presidency for whatever reason, he assumes the powers and responsibilities of the president in the narrow sense of "conducting the business"
Following the ratification of the Ta'if Accord, the Constitution laid out a preamble for the three "key" executive posts: the President, the Prime Minister, and the Council of Ministers. The preamble states the following:
In addition, the Prime Minister also holds these posts ex officio:
- Vice President of the Supreme Defense Council
- President of the Council of Ministers
- Head of the government
- Or until dismissal at the discretion of the President.
This article incorporates public domain material from the Library of Congress website https://www.loc.gov/law/help/lebanon-constitutional-law.php.