Taif Agreement

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Taif Agreement  (1989) 
The Taif Agreement was negotiated in Taif, Saudi Arabia by members of Lebanon's 1972 parliament. The agreement covered political reform, the ending of the war in Lebanon, the establishment of special relations between Lebanon and Syria, and a framework for the beginning of Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon. It was signed on October 22, 1989.

1st: General Principles and Reforms[edit]

I. General Principles:[edit]

A. [Sovereignty][edit]

Lebanon is a sovereign, free, and independent country and a final homeland for all its citizens.

B. [Identity][edit]

Lebanon is Arab in identity. It is an active and founding member of the Arab League and is committed to the League's charter. It is an active and founding member of the United Nations Organization and is committed to its Charters. Lebanon is a member of the non-aligned movement.

The state of Lebanon shall embody these principles in all areas and spheres, without exceptions.

C. [System of Government][edit]

Lebanon is a democratic parliamentary republic found on the respect for public liberties, especially the freedom of expression and belief, on social justice, and on equality in rights and duties for all citizens, without discrimination or preference.

D. [Democracy][edit]

The people are the source of authority. They are sovereign and they shall exercise their sovereignty through the constitutional institutions.

E. [Economic System][edit]

The economic system is a free system that guarantees individual initiative and private ownership.

F. [Development][edit]

Culturally, socially, and economically - balanced development is the mainstay of the unity of the state and the stability of the system.

G. [Social Justice][edit]

Efforts (will be made) to achieve comprehensive social justice through fiscal, economic, and social reform.

H. [Unity][edit]

The land of Lebanon is united and belongs to all the Lebanese. Every Lebanese is entitled to live in and enjoy any part of the country under the supremacy of the law. The people may not be categorized on the basis of any affiliation whatsoever and there shall be no fragmentation, no partition, and no repatriation [of Palestinians in Lebanon].

No authority violating the common co-existence charter shall be legitimate.

II. Political Reforms[edit]

A. Chamber of Deputies:[edit]

The Chamber of Deputies is the legislative authority which exercises full control over government policy and activities.

1. The Chamber speaker and his deputy shall be elected for the duration of the Chamber term.

2. In the first session, two years after it elects its speaker and deputy speaker, the Chamber may vote only once to deny confidence for its speaker or deputy speaker with a 2/3 majority of its members, and in accordance with a petition submitted by at least 10 deputies. In case confidence is denied, the Chamber shall convene immediately to fill the vacant post.

3. No urgent bill presented to the Chamber of Deputies may be issued unless it is included in the agenda of a public session and read in such a session, and unless the grace period stipulated by the constitution passes without a resolution on such a bill with the approval of the Cabinet.

4. The electoral district shall be the governorate.

5. Until the Chamber of Deputies passes an election law free of sectarian restriction, the parliamentary seats shall be divided according to the following bases:

a. Equally between Christians and Muslims.

b. Proportionately between the denominations of each sect.

c. Proportionately between the districts.

6. The number of members of the Chamber of Deputies shall be increased to 128, shared equally between Christians and Muslims. As for the districts created on the basis of this document and the districts whose seats became vacant prior to the proclamation of this document, their seats shall be filled only once on an emergency basis through appointment by the national accord government that is planned to be formed.

7. With the election of the first Chamber of Deputies on a national, not sectarian, basis, a Senate shall be formed and all the spiritual families shall be represented in it. The Senate powers shall be confined to crucial issues.

B. President of Republic:[edit]

The president of republic is the head of state and a symbol of the unity of the country. He shall contribute to enhancing the constitution and to preserving Lebanon's independence, unity, and territorial integrity in accordance with the provisions of the constitution. He is the supreme commander of the armed forces which are subject to the power of the cabinet. The president shall exercise the following powers:

1. Heads the Cabinet [meeting] whenever he wishes, but without voting.

2. Heads the Supreme Defence Council.

3. Issues decrees and demands their publication. He shall also be entitled to ask the Cabinet to reconsider any resolution it makes within 15 days of the date of deposition of the resolution with the presidential office. Should the Cabinet insist on the adopted resolution, or should the grace period pass without issuing and returning the decree, the decree of the resolution shall be valid and must be published.

4. Promulgates laws in accordance with the grace period stipulated by the constitution and demands their publication upon ratification by the Chamber of Deputies. After notifying the Cabinet, also requests re-examination of the laws within the grace periods provided by the constitution, and in accordance with the articles of the constitution. In case the laws are not issued or returned before the end of the grace periods, they shall be valid by law and they must be published.

5. Refers the bills presented to him by the Chamber of Deputies.

6. Names the prime minister-designate in consultation with the speaker of the Chamber of Deputies on the basis of binding parliamentary consultations, the outcome of which the president shall officially familiarize the speaker with.

7. Issues the decree appointing the prime minister independently.

8. Upon agreement with the prime minister, issues the decree to form the cabinet.

9. Issues decrees accepting the resignation of the Cabinet or of Cabinet ministers and decrees relieving them from their duties.

11. Upon agreement with the prime minister, negotiates the conclusion and the signature of international treaties which shall become valid only upon approval by the Cabinet. The Cabinet shall familiarize the Chamber of Deputies with such treaties when the country's interest and state security make such familiarization possible. As for treaties involving conditions concerning state finances, trade treaties, and other treaties, which may not be abrogated annually, they may not be concluded without the approval of the Chamber of Deputies.

12. When the need arises, addresses messages to the Chamber of Deputies.

13. Upon agreement with the prime minister, summons the Chamber of Deputies to hold special sessions by decree.

14. The president of the republic is entitled to present to the Cabinet any urgent issues beyond the agenda.

15. Upon agreement with the prime minister, calls the Cabinet to hold a special session whenever he deems it necessary.

16. Grants special pardon by decree.

17. In the performance of his duty, the president shall not be liable unless he violates the constitution or commits high treason.

C. Prime Minister:[edit]

The prime minister is the head of the government. He represents it and speaks on its behalf. He is responsible for implementing the general policy drafted by the Cabinet. The prime minister shall exercise the following powers:

1. Heads the cabinet.

2. Holds parliamentary consultations to form the Cabinet and co-signs with the president the decree to form it. The Cabinet shall submit its Cabinet statement to the Chamber of Deputies for a vote of confidence within 30 days [of its formation]. The Cabinet may not exercise its powers before gaining the confidence, after its resignation, or when it is considered retired, except within the narrow sense of disposing of affairs.

3. Presents the general policy of the government to the Chamber of Deputies.

4. Signs all decrees, except for decrees naming the prime minister and decrees accepting the Cabinet resignation or considering it as retired.

5. Signs the decree calling for a special session and decrees issuing laws and requesting the re-examination of laws.

6. Summons the Cabinet to meet, drafts its agenda, familiarizes the president of the republic in advance with the issues included on the agenda and with the urgent issues to be discussed, and signs the usual session minutes.

7. Oversees the activities of public departments and institutions, coordinates between the ministers, and issues general instructions to ensure the smooth progress of work.

8. Holds working sessions with the state agencies in the presence of the minister concerned.

9. By law, acts as the deputy chairman of the Supreme Defence Council.

D. Cabinet:[edit]

[ No item 1. as published ]

2. Watches over the implementation of laws and regulations and supervises the activities of all state agencies without exception, including the civilian, military, and security departments and institutions.

3. The cabinet is the authority which controls the armed forces.

4. Appoints, dismisses, and accepts the resignation of state employees in accordance with the law.

5. It has the right to dissolve the Chamber of Deputies at the request of the president of the republic if the Chamber refuses to meet throughout an ordinary or a special session lasting no less than one month, even though it is summoned twice consecutively, or if the Chamber sends back the budget in its entirety with the purpose of paralyzing the government. This right may not be exercised again for the same reasons which called for dissolving the Chamber in the first instance.

6. When the president of the republic is present, he heads Cabinet sessions. The Cabinet shall meet periodically at special headquarters. The legal quorum for a Cabinet meeting is 2/3 its members. The Cabinet shall adopt its resolutions by consent. If impossible, then by vote. The resolutions shall be adopted by a majority of the members present. As for major issues, they require the approval of 2/3 the Cabinet members. The following shall be considered major issues: the state of emergency and its suppression, war and peace, general mobilization, international agreements and treaties, the state budget, comprehensive and long-term development plans, the appointment of top-level civil servants or their equivalent, the re-examination of administrative divisions, dissolving the Chamber of Deputies, the election law, the citizenship law, the personal status laws, and the dismissal of Cabinet ministers.

E. Minister:[edit]

The minister powers shall be reinforced in a manner compatible with the government general policy and with the principle of collective responsibility. A minister shall not be relieved from his position except by Cabinet decree or if the Chamber of Deputies withdraws denies him confidence individually.

F. Cabinet Resignation, Considering Cabinet Retired, and Dismissal of Ministers:[edit]

1. The cabinet shall be considered retired in the following cases:

a. If its chairman resigns.

b. If it looses more than 1/3 of its members as determined by its constitutive decree.

c. If its chairman dies.

d. At the beginning of a presidential term.

e. At the beginning of the Chamber of Deputies term.

f. When the Chamber of Deputies denies it confidence on an initiative by the Chamber itself and on the basis of a vote of confidence.

2. A minister shall be relieved by a decree signed by the president of the republic and the prime minister, with Cabinet approval.

3. When the Cabinet resigns or is considered retired, the Chamber of Deputies shall, by law, be considered as convened in a special session until a new Cabinet is formed. A vote-of-confidence session shall follow.

G. Abolition of Political Sectarianism:[edit]

Abolishing political sectarianism is a fundamental national objective. To achieve it, it is required that efforts be made in accordance with a phased plan. The Chamber of Deputies elected on the basis of equal sharing by Christians and Muslims shall adopt the proper measures to achieve this objective and to form a national council which is headed by the president of the republic and which includes, in addition to the prime minister and the speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, political, intellectual, and social personalities. The council task will be to examine and propose the means capable of abolishing sectarianism, to present them to the Chamber of Deputies and to the Cabinet, and to oversee the implementation of the phased plan. The following shall be done in the interim period:

a. Abolish the sectarian representation base and rely on competence and specialization in public jobs, the judiciary, the military, security, public, and joint institutions, and in the independent agencies in accordance with the dictates of national accord, excluding the top-level jobs and equivalent jobs which shall be shared equally by Christians and Muslims without allocating any particular job to any sect.

b. Abolish the mention of sect and denomination on the identity card.

III. Other Reforms:[edit]

A. Administrative Decentralism:[edit]

1. The State of Lebanon shall be a single and united state with a strong central authority.

2. The powers of the governors and the district administrative officers shall be expanded and all state administrations shall be represented in the administrative provinces at the highest level possible so as to facilitate serving the citizens and meeting their needs locally.

3. The administrative divisions shall be recognized in a manner that emphasizes national fusion within the framework of preserving common coexistence and unity of the land, people, and institutions.

4. Expanded administrative decentralization shall be adopted at the level of the smaller administrative units [ district and smaller units ] through the election of a council, headed by the district officer, in every district, to ensure local participation.

5. A comprehensive and unified development plan capable of developing the provinces economically and socially shall be adopted and the resources of the municipalities, unified municipalities, and municipal unions shall be reinforced with the necessary financial resources.

B. Courts:[edit]

[1] To guarantee that all officials and citizens are subject to the supremacy of the law and to ensure harmony between the action of the legislative and the executive authorities on the one hand, and the givens of common coexistence and the basic rights of the Lebanese as stipulated in the constitution on the other hand:

1. The Higher Council which is defined by the constitution and whose task is to try presidents and ministers shall be formed. A special law on the rules of trial before this council shall be promulgated.

2. A Constitutional Council shall be created to interpret the constitution, to observe the constitutionality of the laws, and to settle disputes and contests emanating from presidential and parliamentary elections.

3. The following authorities shall be entitled to revise the Constitutional Council in matters pertaining to interpreting the constitution and observing the constitutionality of the laws:

a. The president of the republic.

b. The Chamber of Deputies speaker.

c. The prime minister.

d. A certain percentage of members of the Chamber of Deputies.

[2] To ensure the principle of harmony between religion and state, the heads of the Lebanese sects may revise the Constitutional Council in matters pertaining to:

1. Personal status affairs.

2. Freedom of religion and the practice of religious rites.

3. Freedom of religious education.

C.[Judicial Independence][edit]

To ensure the independence of the judiciary, a certain number of the Higher Judiciary Council shall be elected by the judiciary body.

D. Parliamentary Election Law:[edit]

Parliamentary elections shall be held in accordance with a new law on the basis of provinces and in the light of rules that guarantee common coexistence between the Lebanese, and that ensure the sound and efficient political representation of all the people's factions and generations. This shall be done after reviewing the administrative division within the context of unity of the people, the land, and the institutions.

E. Creation of a socioeconomic council for development:[edit]

A socioeconomic council shall be created to insure that representatives of the various sectors participate in drafting the state's socioeconomic policy and providing advice and proposals.

F. Education:[edit]

1. Education shall be provided to all and shall be made obligatory for the elementary stage at least.

2. The freedom of education shall be emphasized in accordance with general laws and regulations.

3. Private education shall be protected and state control over private schools and textbooks shall be strengthened.

4. Official, vocational, and technological education shall be reformed, strengthened, and developed in a manner that meets the country's development and reconstruction needs. The conditions of the Lebanese University shall be reformed and aid shall be provided to the university, especially to its technical colleges.

5. The curricula shall be reviewed and developed in a manner that strengthens national belonging, fusion, spiritual and cultural openness, and that unifies textbooks on the subjects of history and national education.

G. Information:[edit]

All the information media shall be reorganized under the supremacy of the law and within the framework of responsible liberties that serve the cautious tendencies and the objective of ending the state of war.

2nd: Spreading the sovereignty of the State of Lebanon over all Lebanese territories[edit]

Considering that all Lebanese factions have agreed to the establishment of a strong state founded on the basis of national accord, the national accord government shall draft a detailed one-year plan whose objective is to spread the sovereignty of the State of Lebanon over all Lebanese territories gradually with the state own forces. The broad lines of the plan shall be as follows:

A. Disbanding of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias shall be announced.[edit]

The weapons of the militias shall be delivered to the State of Lebanon within a period of 6 months, beginning with the approval of the national accord charter. The president of the republic shall be elected. A national accord cabinet shall be formed, and the political reforms shall be approved constitutionally.

B. The internal security forces shall be strengthened through:[edit]

1. Opening the door of voluntarism to all the Lebanese without exception, beginning the training of volunteers centrally, distributing the volunteers to the units in the governorates, and subjecting them to organized periodic training courses.

2. Strengthening the security agency to ensure control over the entry and departure of individuals into and out of the country by land, air, and sea.

C. Strengthening the armed forces:[edit]

1. The fundamental task of the armed forces is to defend the homeland, and if necessary, protect public order when the danger exceeds the capability of the internal security forces to deal with such a danger on their own.

2. The armed forces shall be used to support the internal security forces in preserving security under conditions determined by the cabinet.

3. The armed forces shall be unified, prepared, and trained in order that they may be able to shoulder their national responsibilities in confronting Israeli aggression.

4. When the internal security forces become ready to assume their security tasks, the armed forces shall return to their barracks.

5. The armed forces intelligence shall be reorganized to serve military objectives exclusively.

D. [Displaced Lebanese][edit]

The problem of the displaced Lebanese shall be solved fundamentally, and the right of every displaced Lebanese since 1975 to return to the place from which he was displaced shall be established. Legislation to guarantee this right and to ensure the means for reconstruction shall be issued. Considering that the objective of the State of Lebanon is to spread its authority over all the Lebanese territories through its own forces, represented primarily by the internal security forces, and in view of the fraternal relations binding Syria to Lebanon, the Syrian forces shall thankfully assist the forces of the legitimate Lebanese government to spread the authority of the State of Lebanon within a set period of no more than 2 years, beginning with the ratification of the national accord charter, election of the president of the republic, formation of the national accord cabinet, and approval of the political reforms constitutionally. At the end of this period, the two governments -- the Syrian Government and the Lebanese National Accord Government -- shall decide to redeploy the Syrian forces in al-Biqaa area from Dahr al-Baydar to the Hammana-al-Mudayrij-'Ayn Darah line, and if necessary, at other points to be determined by a joint Lebanese-Syrian military committee. An agreement shall also be concluded by the two governments to determine the strength and duration of the presence of Syrian forces in the above-mentioned area and to define the relationship of these forces to the Lebanese state authorities where they exist. The Arab Tripartite Committee is prepared to assist the two states, if they so wish, to develop this agreement.

3rd: Liberating Lebanon from the Israeli occupation[edit]

Regaining state authority over the territories extending to the internationally-recognized Lebanese borders requires the following:

A. Efforts to implement resolution 425[edit]

and the other UN Security Council resolutions calling for fully eliminating the Israeli occupation.

B. Adherence to the truce agreement concluded on 23 March 1949.[edit]

C. [Israeli Occupation][edit]

Taking all necessary steps to liberate all the Lebanese territories from the Israeli occupation, to spread state sovereignty over all the territories, and to deploy the Lebanese army in the border area adjacent to Israel; and making efforts to reinforce the presence of the UN forces in South Lebanon to ensure Israeli withdrawal from and to provide the opportunity for the return of security and stability to the border area.

4th: Lebanese - Syrian Relations[edit]

Lebanon, with its Arab identity, is bound to all the Arab countries by true fraternal relations. Between Lebanon and Syria there is a special relationship that derives its strength from the roots of blood relationships, history, and joint fraternal interests. This is the concept on which the two countries coordination and cooperation is based, and which will be embodied by the agreements between the two countries in all areas, in a manner that accomplishes the interests of the two fraternal countries within the framework of the sovereignty and independence of each. Therefore, and because strengthening the bases of security creates the climate needed to develop these bonds, Lebanon should not be allowed to constitute a source of threat to the security of Syria, and Syria should not be allowed to constitute a source of threat to the security of Lebanon under any circumstances. Consequently, Lebanon should not allow itself to become a pathway or a base for any force, state, or organization seeking to undermine its security or that of Syria. Syria, which is eager for the security, independence, and unity of Lebanon, and for harmony amongst its citizens, should not permit any act that poses a threat to the security, independence, and sovereignty of Lebanon.

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