Lebanese parliament’s decaying role in electing a president

The two-month constitutional period for the Lebanese Parliament to elect a new president began on Tuesday.

It’s strange, however, that most Lebanese politicians have already surrendered to their incapability of electing a new leader by the end of the constitutional deadline.

Acknowledging this incapability is a dangerous admission of the parliament’s decaying role in electing a president.

What’s even stranger is that none of the active politicians ever sought to come up with a constitutional amendment that obliges members of parliament to participate in the session dedicated for electing a president. If MPs obstruct meeting the constitutional deadline and allow the country to enter a political vacuum, they must be tried and held accountable as individuals who betrayed the people who elected them.

The current situation

Given our current situation, any party can obstruct electing a president if it does not guarantee that its candidate will become president. Since many people always aspire to the presidential post, obstructing the elections is more likely. He who aspires to become president but does not have the chance to currently become one, aims to postpone the presidential elections for months or even a year until the circumstances change in his favor.

Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutos al-Rai has spoken of an attempt to issue a pledge by Maronite MPs to attend any parliamentary session that speaker Nabih Berri may call for to elect a president. But there are obstacles which confirm what I previously mentioned, as the candidates’ interest comes before that of the country and its citizens.

The initiative towards electing a president must quickly kick off now or else we can bid the legislative institution farewell.

Nayla Tueni

Efforts to meet the constitutional deadline of electing a president are now late as consultations should have kicked off earlier than March 25 and calling to hold parliamentary sessions should have begun as of March 25.

Embarrassing everyone during the last ten days of President Michel Suleiman’s term will force MPs to accept what they disapprove of just to avoid vacuum in the country. In this case, amending the constitution - which everyone rejects - will become inevitable if suggested, and everyone will find themselves facing a newly imposed grim reality.

If intentions not to subject Lebanon to vacuum are true, the initiative towards electing a president must quickly kick off now or else we can bid the legislative institution farewell.

This article was first published in al-Nahar on March 24, 2014.


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 09:43 - GMT 06:43
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