On Monday, we witnessed a democratic process of elections, that also happened to be surreal. You only see this in Lebanon. Christian leader Michel Aoun was elected president ending a more than two-year vacuum. Lebanon has a special democratic model that is governed by sects and that requires settlements to overcome its crises. Distributing shares is present in every vein of the state's body.
During the elections which lasted for more than two and a half hours, we witnessed comic incidents such as Speaker Nabih Berri’s statement that the MPs’ performance resembled that of students in the famous Egyptian play “School of Rascals”. In addition to all that, an extra vote - 128 instead of 127 - appeared twice in the ballots and forced MPs to perform another round of elections. In another round, an MP voted for Myriam Klink, a controversial model and celebrity.
This is Lebanon with all its details, obstructions and breakthroughs.
The young generation in Lebanon has an urgent desire to change the political hierarchy which was established after Lebanon gained its independence and which is related to feudality and leadership.
Democracy in Lebanon is not exactly a model in every sense of the word, but rather it’s an experiment in which there is a political system that’s been customized according to the measures of the different sectsTurki Aldakhil
Thirty-seven years ago, Waddah Sharara wrote an important book entitled “The Roots of Sectarian Lebanon: The Rightwing Populist Line”. In this book, he called for altering the state and changing its ruling sectarian system.
He quoted Joseph Moghaizel as saying: “A category of rich men and feudalists have emerged. They took over centers of command and governance seats in the executive and legislative powers. This category understood independence as a means towards absurd control and realized that the old frame of work suits its interests so it strengthened it.”
Democracy in Lebanon is not exactly a model in every sense of the word, but rather it’s an experiment in which there is a political system that’s been customized according to the measures of the different sects. This is a reasonable democracy if we are to recall the time of the civil war in Lebanon.
While swearing the oath, Aoun pledged the independence of Lebanon’s foreign policy and the sovereignty of the state. This is good talk but let us wait and see.
This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on Nov. 02, 2016.
Turki Aldakhil is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. He began his career as a print journalist, covering politics and culture for the Saudi newspapers Okaz, Al-Riyadh and Al-Watan. He then moved to pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat and pan-Arab news magazine Al-Majalla. Turki later became a radio correspondent for the French-owned pan-Arab Radio Monte Carlo and MBC FM. He proceeded to Elaph, an online news magazine and Alarabiya.net, the news channel’s online platform. Over a ten-year period, Dakhil’s weekly Al Arabiya talk show “Edaat” (Spotlights) provided an opportunity for proponents of Arab and Islamic social reform to make their case to a mass audience. Turki also owns Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre and Madarek Publishing House in Dubai. He has received several awards and honors, including the America Abroad Media annual award for his role in supporting civil society, human rights and advancing women’s roles in Gulf societies. He tweets @TurkiAldakhil.