BEIRUT (AFP) -More than two dozen Lebanese MPs have accused the president of violating the constitution by failing to sign a decree for a new election to replace assassinated industry minister Pierre Gemayel.
“A 12-page petition accusing Mr (Emile) Lahoud of violating the constitution was sent Wednesday by MPs from the (anti-Syrian) majority to the parliament’s secretary general Adnan Daher,” the ANI news agency said Thursday.
The petition, signed by 28 MPs, is based on the president’s refusal to sign a convocation decree for a new election to choose a successor to Gemayel, an anti-Syrian MP and cabinet member who was gunned down on November 21.
Two thirds of parliament must approve the petition in order for pro-Syrian President Lahoud to appear before Lebanon’s high court on charges of treason and violating the constitution.
However, the anti-Syrian parliamentary majority holds just 70 of 128 seats.
The Western-backed government of Prime Minister Fuad Siniora has issued a decree naming January 14 as the date for partial legislative elections in Gemayel’s former constituency, the Christian sector of Metn.
But in order for elections to be held, the decree must be signed by Lahoud, who has refused on the grounds that any decision set forth by the rump cabinet left after six pro-Syrian ministers resigned last month is illegitimate.
Meanwhile, opposition MPs have begun to circulate a petition accusing Siniora and the remaining cabinet ministers of violating the constitution, Lebanese media reported.
“The opposition accuses the government of having negotiated and signed international treaties which are the duty of the head of state,” press reports said.
The opposition, led by the Syria- and Iran-backed Shiite militant movement Hezbollah and its Christian allies, has been staging a four-week long sit-in outside the government’s offices in central Beirut in a bid to force a change in the government.