Whenever there’s a crisis in Lebanon, and whenever we are close to electing a president, Christian Maronite parties tend to obstruct each other and disagree. But in June, the two strongest Christian leaders – Michel Aoun and Samir Geagea – met and announced a “declaration of intent”, which came after a long and absurd war.
They decreased the distance between themselves and their supporters, and began a march of cooperation and brotherhood. If it had happened years ago, the country – and particularly the community they claim to represent – would have been spared many crises.
But they’ve agreed on everything, yet on nothing at all!
A presidential settlement is capable of ending the political vacuum in Lebanon, as well as the obstruction of the state’s work. Yet Maronite leaders, particularly those who consider themselves the strongest, limited nominations to themselves – thus obstructing the presidential process and excluding other figures who enjoy presidential characteristics.
Today, these leaders find themselves in the swamp. They don’t accept Suleiman Franjieh as a candidate for the presidential post, and there are no justifications or logical explanations as to why they reject him.
Rejecting a certain candidate requires agreeing on an alternative. However, rejection for the sake of it, and not providing solutions, amounts to obstruction. And it makes Lebanon vulnerable to crisis seen elsewhere in the region, as well as the possibility of allowing others to impose a president, which will lead to chaos.
It’s true that this is not only the responsibility of the Christians; however, they are as responsible as others for the presidential vacuum and for the deplorable condition which the country is in. And the leaders are currently confronting an agreement reached by the political parties, who are their partners in governance. The the agreement neither harms the constitution nor the national charter.
So what will the Maronite leaders do? It’s difficult to answer this question as they’re now in an unenviable position. They may even need the support of the independent figures they've underestimated.
Are we gloating? Of course not. But we’re voicing how unfortunate the situation has become and calling on them to reconsider the situation, and benefit from the painful past experiences so as not to repeat them.
This article was first published in an-Nahar on Dec. 7, 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
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