The president’s speech at the end of yesterday’s cabinet session regarding appointments, means one thing; Jump over the mechanism and give permission to ministers to exercise their constitutional powers, i.e. designate those they want in first-class jobs and dedicate the logic of quotas
In the aftermath of the confusion that finally appeared from the cabinet, after the appointment of an alternative from the Governor of Beirut, Ziyad Shabib, and the accompanying information about the desire of the Prime Minister to replace him with his health affairs adviser Petra Khoury, the issue of appointments raised the features of a political crisis embodied by mobilizing political and religious faces, to protect «the Orthodox site ».
The “balloon of the test”, which Diab threw, in promoting Khoury, brought back to light the criteria that will govern the appointments, the mechanism on which they will be based, and the parties ’shares in them. However, according to the information, it appears that evading the practical application of any unified mechanism for appointments still exists, on the pretext that the minister has constitutional powers, and that he has the right to propose in the ministry he is responsible for filling vacancies in first-class jobs. This constitutional “right” has long been used by some to not abide by a specific mechanism. As long as there is no constitutional amendment, nothing will change.
The appointment mechanism in the state is not a purely administrative or technical issue, but rather the fiercest battle waged by the forces of power. Any mechanism that respects standards will constitute an obstacle that prevents these forces from gaining influence within institutions. Otherwise, what explains the lack of agreement on a unified mechanism ten years ago? Although these same powers, opponents and allies, were able to agree on the completion of parliamentary and municipal elections, elections law and appointments (judicial, security and diplomatic) … but they remained “unable” to approve a mechanism for appointments. This is explained by the fact that the best weapon in which political forces dominate the system is the administrative positions of the state. Through these positions, the political forces were able to build their “deep states” inside the institutions, according to the sectarian and sectarian division, in a way that allowed them to tighten their grip, even if it became outside the government.
Last week, the information was indicating a near agreement on the adoption of the mechanism that was put in place by former Minister Mohamed Fneish in 2010 and agreed upon by the government at the time. However, with amendments made according to the deadlines stipulated in the law proposal to amend the mechanism in the first category in public administrations, and according to the amendments made to it by the Administration and Justice Committee headed by Representative George Adwan. But President Michel Aoun, surprisingly, concluded the cabinet session yesterday by jumping over this mechanism, as it gave the ministers the right to put one or more names on the cabinet in any future appointments, from outside the mechanism. Aoun said that «the minister has the right, according to the constitution, to choose who is suitable, and accordingly, he is the one who decides, and he has the right to implement the mechanism discussed by the Ministerial Committee (chaired by President Hassan Diab) and works on amendments to it.» But will the ministers follow the mechanism as long as they are free to choose? Ministerial sources say that «there is an understanding between the ministers on this matter, and there is a conviction of the need to return to the mechanism, and therefore a committee was formed to discuss it.» But this understanding remains a “verbal agreement”, not binding, which means that any minister can bypass the mechanism at any time he wants.
The former minister, Muhammad Fneish, believes that “the application of the agreed mechanism in the government is not impossible, and we have already tested this, and many appointments were made on the basis of the mechanism that we set.” Fneish considers that the problem is that some ministers refuse to follow the mechanism, because they have a constitutional right to choose who they want, especially since the mechanism remains non-binding, except after its approval in the House of Representatives.
The approval of the proposal, as amended by “Administration and Justice”, will not be easy
So, the real test of the intention of the political forces to adopt the criteria of competence and integrity will be in the public body, where it will shift the law proposal. Certainly, this proposal will not be written peacefully through the General Assembly in the House of Representatives. At best, a majority in Parliament will vote on the proposed law, and ten representatives are available to appeal to the Constitutional Council. And if it falls, the mechanism will no longer be binding, and therefore any new government will not be governed by that previously agreed upon, that is, the only mechanism, in the absence of effective oversight structures, is traditionally popular: the sectarian mechanism. The latter does not stipulate the selection of the best in administrative appointments, but rather the designation of “soldiers” whose mission is to penetrate and control what allows them through their positions and powers to obtain gains and benefits by looting and unlawful methods in the interest of the powers and “entities” that brought them.
“Fneish Mechanism” and administration and justice amendments
In 2010, the Council of Ministers issued a decree bearing the number 12/2010 containing the appointment mechanism for the first category, prepared by the then Minister of State for Administrative Development Affairs, Muhammad Fneish. However, successive governments denounced it, and returned to its old custom, according to favoritism. This mechanism stipulated the necessity of setting controls that precede the minister’s exercise of his powers, as a ministerial-supervisory committee is formed to consider the “biographies” of the candidates for assuming vacant positions, after reviewing their files in the supervisory bodies, if they are from the owners. After studying the files and conducting oral interviews, the minister proposes the best 3 candidates and refers them to the Cabinet with a summary of their CVs. In appointments to members of boards of directors, for example, if the members are full-time and are considered as first-class employees, they need the approval of two-thirds of the members of the Council of Ministers, and they are subject to the mechanism used for first-class employees. According to the proposal of the Law of the Administration and Justice Committee, the preference is for employees of the second category in the general administrative staff to fill vacancies of the first category in public administrations and to open the door for nomination to all those qualified from inside and outside the ownerships in vacant positions in relation to public institutions in their leadership positions, after specifying the specifications and conditions of appointment Objectively and transparently, and after conducting oral interviews, the names of three accepted candidates are drawn up, and the Council of Ministers will choose one of them.