The Lebanese presidency is not solely a Christian affair
The Lebanese republic is in danger. It has been decapitated and a body cannot survive without a head
The Lebanese republic is in danger. It has been decapitated and a body cannot survive without a head. Lebanon is stumbling in all its endeavors. There’s no president, the government is semi-obstructed and the parliament cannot be efficient without an efficient president and government. Only security institutions are taking initiative on the basis of their sacred duty to defend the Lebanese people’s right to a dignified life and to protect them from terrorist threats.
The dialogue between the Free Patriotic Movement and the Lebanese Forces has not addressed the presidency until today although both parties consider the situation a purely Christian affair. They are therefore incapable of reaching an agreement regarding this issue. The parallel “Muslim” dialogue did not address the presidential issue as well out of fear that a Muslim agreement regarding the Christians may upset the latter’s sensitivities. Maronite Patriarch Beshara Boutros al-Rai is the only one calling for expediting the process of electing the only Christian president in the Middle East.
There’s no president, the government is semi-obstructed and the parliament cannot be efficient without an efficient president and governmentNayla Tueni
Just on Sunday, Rai said: “We must address the consciences of those who are directly and indirectly concerned inside and outside the country. [We tell them] that by not electing a president they are draining the state’s capabilities and draining the tasks and jurisdictions of the state’s constitutional and public institutions. They are also draining the state’s public funds and the people’s morals. [They are also contributing] to … the immigration of rising generations and draining the dignity of Lebanon and its role in its surrounding [region].”
We also echo Rai’s words that the “presidential vacuum must not exploited to innovate an alternative to the presence of a president. The presidency is not dispensable at all…”
The patriarch and all those concerned in the presidency, i.e. in the country, must stop considering the presidency a Christian affair. They must stop limiting it to struggling Maronite leaders. Therefore, they must include others – all partners in the country – in the process of electing a president and perhaps also call for a national dialogue sponsored by Bkirki or by the parliament speaker in order to impose it on everyone to participate. No one should say this plays down the role of Maronites and Christians. National partnership regarding the presidential elections may contribute to viewing other high-ranking leadership posts as nationalistic posts rather than sectarian ones.
This article was first published in al-Nahar on March 5, 2015.
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