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May 29, 2020
The Government Monitor No. 14 - Cabinet’s 100-Day Pledges: 89% Incomplete


What’s the Issue at Hand?
May 21 marked 100 days since Hassan Diab’s government gained parliamentary confidence. With a clear overarching mission of rescuing the country from its financial and economic crisis, the ministerial statement detailed 127 measures1 distributed over three stages: 100 days, one year, and three years. To this end, while the prime minister proclaimed that the government had met 97% of the pledges stipulated under the first stage of the ministerial statement, reviewing legislations published in the Official Gazette and the Parliament’s agenda unveils a different reality. Indeed, of the nine measures that were supposed to pass during those 100 days, only one actualized.
 
Initially, the cabinet pledged to fulfill nine distinct objectives—all of which were related to judicial reforms—within its first 100 days in office. More specifically, those objectives were:
  1. Drafting laws on the independence of the judiciary.
  2. Issuing decrees for judicial appointments.
  3. Drafting an amendment to law 45/2017 on maritime properties violations.
  4. Devising penal policies that would protect and preserve basic rights including freedom of expression and the right to protest, and would limit pre-trial detention.
  5. Enhancing the role of the Judicial Inspection Authority.
  6. Following-up on the modernization of courts.
  7. Devising a plan that improves prisons’ conditions and reduces overcrowding.
  8. Urging the use of alternative means of sanctions.
  9. Urging public prosecutors and other judicial bodies to prosecute cases they deem to be suggestive of corruption.
 
A closer reading of the objectives reveals that only three had references to concrete legislations, and were therefore considered specific. Of those three, the cabinet only completed the one on judicial independence.
 
  • The cabinet fulfilled its objective on judicial organization and independence. However, the draft laws were neither passed nor voted in Parliament, and thus never became legally binding. The draft laws are currently being studied and amended by a parliamentary subcommittee within the Parliament’s justice committee.
 
  • The objective on judicial appointments was not met, as the decrees were not sent to the president, prime minister, and the minister of defense for their respective signatures. The decrees remained instead with the minister of justice who has been consulting with judicial bodies,2 including the Supreme Council and military courts, on possible amendments.
 
  • The cabinet also failed to fulfill its third objective on violations of maritime properties. While the court of cassation has pointed out to more than 700 instances of maritime land violations,3 the cabinet has yet to present an amendment to law 45/2017 on treating violations of public lands.
 
The remaining six objectives were void of concrete references to legislations or bureaucratic procedures, which impedes monitoring efforts. In essence, these objectives outline general intentions that the cabinet sets to achieve without committing to a tangible framework.
 
 
Why is this Important?
Prime Minister Hassan Diab announced on May 21, 2020, that his cabinet had delivered on 97% of the first 100-days promises listed in the ministerial statement. However, reviewing legislations on the Official Gazette and the Parliament’s agenda reveals a sobering reality. Indeed, with 100 days now under its belt, the government has come short on eight of its nine objectives.
 
 
Background
Lebanon continues to face deep financial and economic challenges. The Diab government, which took office with a mission to successfully navigate through the crisis, is currently subject to scrutiny as it has failed to actualize its first stage objectives, while glorifying an unfounded 97% completion rate.4
 
 
1 The Government Monitor No. 12. February 25, 2020. ‘The Ministerial Statement Falls Short of Addressing the Financial Crisis.’ Lebanese Center for Policy Studies.
2 Mourtada, R. ‘Disputes Raising between Minister of Justice and Judicial Council.’ Al-Akhbar https://www.al-akhbar.com/Politics/287404.
3 Ibrahim, R. ‘Restoring maritime properties: Replacing Aggressors.’ Al-Akhbar https://al-akhbar.com/Community/288274.
4 Al-Mayadeen May, 21, 2020 ‘Cabinet Has Fulfilled 97% of its Commitments’. https://www.almayadeen.net/news/politics/1399454.
 







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