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Blank ballot, no quorum mean no viable Lebanese candidate

The Lebanese presidential elections situation is clear: You have been trained to accept what Syria dictates

Octavia Nasr

Published: Updated:

Lower your voices and stop spewing your hate around; the Lebanese presidential elections situation is clear: You have been trained to accept what Syria dictates and whom it imposes unconditionally, and you cannot change now. At the first democratic test, you failed to act like actual elected officials - probably because you should have expired when your term did but instead you extended your mandate despite your own voters’ protests.

You failed to nominate a viable candidate for president. Then you failed to participate in free elections and let the best person win, because you predicted - rightly so - that your potential candidates do not stand a chance of winning squarely and fairly. The best you could do is submit an empty ballot while a handful decided to exhibit what they must have considered a “stroke of genius” by submitting names of dead people. “Martyrs” they said as if only those names represent martyrs and everybody else’s dead over decades of strife do not count.

True patriots would support free elections with legitimate candidates on the ballot

Octavia Nasr

What is going on is clear and pathetic. What is yet to come might be even more pathetic. A group in Lebanon believes in assassination and mass killing as a way to control disagreement. If physical assassination is not an option, they turn to character assassination. Little do they understand that they do not determine who is a traitor and who is not; nor do they decide who is forgiven or not. They also don’t get to pick and choose who is a tyrant and baby killer. Except for them and their likes, people are good at determining all these facts for themselves.

Of the hundreds of potential candidates for the presidency, they could not come up with one to face off with the chosen and fully supported candidate of their opponents. They brought back people from the dead to vote for and not once did they name their prominent choices for president. Why didn’t their potential candidates join the race? Why didn’t they run an honest campaign and why wasn’t their name on the ballot? Aren't they interested in honest elections? Or is a free and open election something they are sure to lose? Is it that the only path to power they know is through intimidation or pre-arranged agreements and a nod from Syria?

True patriots would support free elections with legitimate candidates on the ballot. Legitimacy here is decided by the constitution not anyone’s court of their own biased opinion. Whoever wins the most votes becomes the next president of Lebanon. Ah “True Patriots,” if only Lebanon had more of them!

This article was first published in al-Nahar on April 28, 2014.

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Multi-award-winning journalist Octavia Nasr served as CNN’s senior editor of Middle Eastern affairs, and is regarded as one of the pioneers of the use of social media in traditional media. She moved to CNN in 1990, but was dismissed in 2010 after tweeting her sorrow at the death of Hezbollah’s Mohammed Fadlallah. Nasr now runs her own firm, Bridges Media Consulting, whose main aim is to help companies better leverage the use of social networks.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.