Who will vote for the Lebanese president?
The pressures besieging the Lebanese people force them to submit to unacceptable conditions
The suggestion to hold Lebanese presidential elections via the direct vote of the people raises questions on the fairness of the situation which some aim to impose. It also raises questions about the great Lebanese people who will choose the president without submitting to many different pressures. Which set of people do you want to cast their votes to elect a new president?
There are people who take orders from politicians and security figures and who work against their interests and the interests of their country and accept to sell their votes and dignity for just a few dollars.
They are also the people who accepted dealing with the Israelis at one point and with the Palestinians at another or with the Syrians and thus submitted to all the tutelages which struck the country at its very core.
The pressures besieging the Lebanese people force them to submit to unacceptable conditionsNayla Tueni
They are the people who agree to participate in the wars of others by either dragging these wars into the country or by willingly leaving the country to participate in them. They thus involve Lebanon and its people in a war they have no interest in and one that only serves the interests of regional countries.
They are the people who await a fatwa (religious edict) that specifies what is allowed and what is prohibited when voting and thus fail to make their choices clear until the last minute.
They fought and killed one another over the duration of 15 years and they do not learn from their experiences but repeat them over and over again. They are the people who support the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria out of spite of others or who follow velayat-e-faqih without considering their partners in the country.
The Lebanese people
What about the naturalized citizens who hail from outside the country and don’t consider any Lebanese national values and who are still controlled by foreign parties? Applications appealing their citizenship have been put away for years and have not been looked into. So will these naturalized citizens be among those who will also vote for a president? Or maybe we’ will end up depending on them as they do not stoop to the levels the Lebanese people do.
All of this does not degrade the Lebanese people as they are knowledgeable, educated, smart, creative and staunch defenders with a conscience who hail from country that is cradle of human civilization in several fields.
However, many times, the pressures besieging the Lebanese people force them to submit to unacceptable conditions and to regional, sectarian and religious considerations. This eventually destroys their every desire to develop, change and reform.
Therefore, change becomes a difficult and complicated process that cannot be suggested by one party. It can be the fruit of national dialogue and we hope that this subject is addressed in a national dialogue conference instead of wasting time on what is futile.
This article was first published in al-Nahar on August 25, 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