Parliament speaker Nabih Berri’s recent proposal to hold parliamentary elections before electing a president is due to despair with political parties and some of his allies, which prevent electing a president, boycott parliamentary sessions, involve Lebanon in foreign wars, and suggest proposals that violate the constitution.
All this has obstructed political and democratic life in Lebanon, and made it a hostage of Hezbollah, which is strong due to its arms. This almost makes Lebanon a failed state in the eyes of other nations and peoples, as no other country in the world is incapable of electing a president and meeting constitutional deadlines.
Berri’s proposal faces several obstacles. The first is that it has not been possible to agree on a new law for parliamentary elections. This takes us a step back as it deprives Lebanon of a chance to approve a modern electoral law that guarantees the representation of all society. Perhaps this is what many political parties want, as they think the previous law - known as the 1960 electoral law - will guarantee their continuous presence in power.
Those obstructing the election of a president will continue to do so, as there is nothing that obliges them to do otherwiseNayla Tueni
The other obstacle is that Berri is unable to guarantee that newly elected MPs - should elections happen - will participate in electing a president. This is because holding parliamentary elections under the 1960 law will guarantee the return of most of the current MPs.
Those obstructing the election of a president will continue to do so, as there is nothing that obliges them to do otherwise. They will continue to do so even if they promise not to, as they will not be held accountable. People no longer believe their promises, but the current system does not allow people to hold their officials accountable.
Electing a president is the top priority, and there is no need for judicial discretion that obliges MPs to practice their electoral duty. We must confront those who submit to foreign wills that have nothing to do with Lebanon’s interests.
This article was first published in an-Nahar on May 30, 2016.
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