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Lebanon is still squabbling over trivial affairs

Such affairs are subject to whims, benefits and personal, family and partisan interests

Nayla Tueni

Published: Updated:

The minute a number of Lebanese ministers met following former President Michel Suleiman’s call to hold a consultative meeting, March 8 media outlets began to launch an attack against the former president and to spur divisions within the March 14 coalition saying Future Movement leader Saad Hariri’s and Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea’s followers are upset. However, the only party upset here is the March 8 coalition and particularly the Free Patriotic Movement whose leader is making efforts to control Christian decision-making.

The meeting was not for the sake of giving birth to a new front which many parties will currently not allow as they fear that a third power may constitute a partner in making decisions especially after dialogue was launched between Aoun and Geagea. This dialogue limits Christian leadership to these two men, which is significant considering the continuing lack of a president.
It’s true that Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah always says that they are not waiting for foreign orders because decisions regarding the presidency are local. However, at the same time, he doesn’t hold talks on the matter and doesn’t discuss the issue and instead attempts to impose Aoun as president.

Meanwhile, the Lebanese are still squabbling over trivial affairs. Such affairs are subject to whims, benefits and personal, family and partisan interests. The cabinet’s role and the mechanism of taking governmental decisions are thus obstructed and none of this is done for the sake of serving national interest. Some exploit this vacuum and use it as an excuse to pass plans that benefit ministers. Therefore, a vote over a decision is not cast unless there are guarantees that another vote, in exchange, will be cast. As a result, many non-urgent decisions were approved in previous governmental sessions amidst the presence of a consensus over interests among most ministers. Unfortunately, as urgent affairs and threats posed against us appear huge, our domestic battles seem so small.

This article was first published in al-Nahar on February 26, 2015.

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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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