Beginning of a ‘new era’ in Lebanon?

Last week, Future Movement leader and MP Saad Hariri endorsed Christian leader Michel Aoun for Lebanon’s presidency. The move has sparked reactions from various quarters.

In the wake of this development, we must carefully observe the activities of Ashraf Rifi, who resigned as justice minister. We must also take into account the views of those who oppose this endorsement even though they may be few in number.

It is important to do this if we seek to address the worries of some people and the rejections of others voiced through social networking websites. It’s true that these are virtual world campaigns that may not have much to do with reality on the ground. In other words, these voices of dissent may not spill on to the streets but some questions are legitimate and express the views of a wide range of people.

What’s interesting is that these objections do not represent what was once called the March 14 coalition as the fiercest objection came from the other party, to what was once called the March 8 coalition.

However, authorities must reveal the truth. If that doesn’t happen, then it will be akin to the country being handed over to the Iranian-Syrian axis who will either exploit presidential vacuum or influence the presidency. Officials, if they are truly responsible, must be frank with the Lebanese people and clarify what has happened in the past and what they plan for the future.

If the presidency is a Lebanese affair, as it is being emphasized, then political parties must take the blame for delaying its election for two and a half years

Nayla Tueni

If the presidency is a Lebanese affair, as it is being emphasized, then political parties must take the blame for delaying its election for two and a half years. They must bear responsibility for this vacuum and must be held accountable for this intentional obstruction. They should also apologize to the Lebanese people for all that this vacuum has caused.

No veil of secrecy

Agreements within political parties must not be kept secret in the interest of the public. These agreements must not just focus on sharing the booty and distributing ministerial portfolios. They shouldn’t try to control the oil and gas sector, which is a national treasure that may suffer as a result of negligence, lack of responsibility and interests of global companies.

The Lebanese people have the right to know the details of the agreement between the Future Movement and the Free Patriotic Movement. They must know what angered Speaker Nabih Berri and why he objected to Hariri’s endorsement of Aoun.

More importantly, isn’t it necessary for the most important candidate to appear in the media and try and convince citizens that he is the best choice? Unfortunately, the idea of a debate remains remote in our country which otherwise claims to be a democracy.

Media appearances, such as the one made by Aoun to satisfy the Sunnis, are not enough to explain his presidential program or his ambitions because executive jurisdictions have been transferred to the government.

The candidate must explain his agenda so that people understand his vision and provide him with the support needed to face a fierce opposition that may obstruct him from carrying out his duties.

Opposition is an important and necessary element in democratic countries. What’ more important though is for these objections to be heard and to be provided with clear answers. Overlook objections is a huge mistake as this means indifference to people’s views and implies contempt for “the great people of Lebanon.”

This article was first published in Annahar on Oct. 24, 2016.
Nayla Tueni is one of the few elected female politicians in Lebanon and of the two youngest. She became a member of parliament in 2009 and following the assassination of her father, Gebran, she is currently a member of the board and Deputy General Manager of Lebanon’s leading daily, Annahar. Prior to her political career, Nayla had trained, written in and managed various sections of Annahar, where she currently has a regular column. She can be followed on Twitter @NaylaTueni.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:49 - GMT 06:49
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