Christians in Lebanon have a huge responsibility
Falling into a vacuum may take Lebanon to the unknown
I do not support the principle of extending the Lebanese parliament’s term, whether out of greed to stay in a post, or authority, or prestige or any of the other things claimed by those who oppose extending the parliament’s term.
After all, I am also one of the latter group because, like them, I adhere to the constitution and its laws and to the institutions’ course of work and primarily to the mother institution - i.e. the legislative institution tasked with protecting the constitution.
But the urgent question we’re all asking is: “Is it currently possible to hold the elections?” If the answer is yes then let’s head tomorrow to the polling stations and cast our votes and let the Lebanese people choose new members of parliament to renew their political and legislative life and let us give a chance to nominees who think their parliamentary seat is just around the corner and who insult current members of parliament on a daily basis.
Christian blocs are playing a confusing and a dangerous gameNayla Tueni
However if the answer is a no, and this was actually the answer of security reports and of field observations between north Lebanon and the Bekaa valley, then we must bear the responsibility of not falling into a vacuum even if the decision is not a result of a popular will. Falling into a vacuum may take Lebanon to the unknown, and particularly to what Maronite Patrirarch Bechara Boutros al-Rai warned of during his visit to Australia; that is a tripartite power sharing formula between Sunnis, Shiites and Christians and other hybrid choices that of course don’t serve the interests of Christians.
It’s the Christians who are responsible for what may happen because their outbidding in rejecting the extension of the parliament’s term - which is not based on a real principle but rather on their personal interests, particularly their presidential ones - prevented them from electing a president and thus led to a presidential vacuum. It seems this vacuum will prolong if the issue gets out of the local players’ calculations and gets involved in regional bazaars where no solution seems near.
They are now playing the same game and obstructing elections and extending the parliament’s term - and they don’t have a viable alternative program. They haven’t agreed on an electoral draft law that achieves their interests and they haven’t reached an agreement regarding a presidential candidate. Not only that but they then accuse other sects of obstructing their roles and grieve that these sects reached agreements that settle their own domestic affairs.
Christian blocs are playing a confusing and a dangerous game. What the country’s formula, structure and cultural message may suffer from in this dark Middle East will be their responsibility.
This article was first published in al-Nahar on Nov. 3, 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