Lebanon’s priority now is electing a president
There cannot be a republic without a president, and state institutions cannot meet the people’s demands without regulating their work
Lebanon’s current problem is represented in the absence of a president. There cannot be a republic without a president, and state institutions cannot meet the people’s demands without regulating their work, something that cannot be achieved amid political disagreements. Political parties obstruct work when they disagree, but cooperate when their interests intersect.
On Sunday, Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rai said: “Financial, personal and political gains... have obstructed electing a president for a year and five months now. This has therefore obstructed the work of parliament.”
How can an MP abstain from electing a president, and how can officials evade responsibility for the situation we have reached? An official must either perform his duties or resign. When an official justifies himself or places blame elsewhere, this is an evasion of responsibility that provokes people. That is why protestors have taken to the streets of Beirut demanding their simplest rights to a dignified life, similar to that provided for people in civilized countries.
Calling for parliamentary sessions to elect a president then postponing them is a charade.Nayla Tueni
On Sunday, parliament speaker Nabih Berri advised citizens to amend their demands and not point responsibility at the political class. Before that, Change and Reform bloc leader and MP Michel Aoun rejected that accusations of corruption be generalized. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s supporters took to Martyrs’ Square to pressure protestors to remove his photo from banners rejecting all political leaders.
Walid Jumblatt was the only MP who admitted that the people’s demands are rightful, and he was ahead of everyone in voicing the importance of this popular activity and assessing its repercussions.
It is unacceptable for the government to feel comfortable when it has no record of achievements worth mentioning. Calling for parliamentary sessions to elect a president then postponing them is a charade. It is also unacceptable for ministers to complain about the obstacles preventing them from carrying out their duties. Such acts must be monitored, and must not go unpunished or without resignations.
This article was first published in an-Nahar on Aug. 31, 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