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Picking the president: ‘Made in Lebanon’ or a Syrian ally?

In Lebanon, there are daily stances and statements specifying the desired characteristics of the upcoming president

Nayla Tueni

Published: Updated:

In Lebanon, there are daily stances and statements specifying the desired characteristics of the upcoming president. Some want him “made in Lebanon,” some want him an Arabist, some want him to be close to Gulf countries and some want him to be a friend and ally of Syria and Iran. Each party is setting down its conditions for accepting or rejecting a president. Then each party would specify the reasons it will attend or boycott the parliamentary session. The same happened when choosing an electoral law - which has garnered no agreement so far. This disagreement has led to extending the parliament’s term. They may extend the parliament’s term again, despite the many objections which go unnoticed amidst bigger political blocs’ agreement.

The biggest threat lies in this surrender to the idea that the Lebanese are incapable of influencing their public life

Nayla Tueni

The problem in Lebanon is that committing to the constitution has become an opinion and meeting deadlines has become discretionary. The Lebanese are always confronting incidents in which the constitution is violated and institutions are obstructed. They’ve also become ready to adapt to these developments or rather market them instead of uniting to voice their rejection of imposing this illegal reality upon them.

Choosing an upcoming president

Then, politicians and citizens compete over giving up to the regional and international role of choosing an upcoming president. They’ve also become convinced that the current government is a product of foreign parties. Many reject foreign parties’ attempts to convince us that when it comes to constitutional deadlines, the major role is that of Lebanese parties’ agreement and that they are willing to help us reach an agreement.

The biggest threat lies in this surrender to the idea that the Lebanese are incapable of influencing their public life. It also lies in accepting this reality which insults regulations, law and the republic. There are currently statements that there’s no problem in the presidential vacuum and that voting for a president will not alter anything. This leads one to rethink the role and jurisdictions granted to the president following the Taif Accord and about the laws that prevent vacuum. If these statements and convictions turn out to be true and if the state works just fine without a president, this means that the country’s top post has become unnecessary and that the formula has been corrupted and further corrupted by its own people.

This article was first published in al-Nahar on June 9, 2014.

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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

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