In Lebanon, all are responsible for the presidential vacuum
Those in governance await signals from foreign parties and put their interests above the country’s
Lebanese Christian leader Amin Gemayel has said that Samir Geagea’s endorsement of Michel Aoun for the presidency will only increase his stubbornness, since Aoun’s obstruction of presidential elections is based on Christian help he has never dreamed of.
Geagea has provided Christian cover out of good intentions, but has prolonged the presidential vacuum and given Aoun an excuse to cling to his policy of “me or nobody else.”
Aoun is not convinced that his chances of becoming president have decreased, and that if he does become president it will be at the expense of the state, its institutions and people. He is not yet convinced that he will be unable to reform what he contributed to destroying and corrupting by obstructing the election of a president for more than two years now, and to restore soured relations between Lebanon and the world, particularly the Arab world.
MP Suleiman Franjieh is also nominated for the post, and he does not make concessions unless according to a set of conditions. He insists on remaining a candidate, thus obstructing a settlement on an alternative candidate.
Meanwhile, Hezbollah insists on making March 14 parties accept its candidate Aoun. Hezbollah asks the Future Movement why it rejects him for the presidency, but it does not question its self-granted right to impose its will on others.
Hezbollah has never referred to the democracy that obliges the party to attend parliament sessions to elect a president - any president who can garner the majority of votes - especially since the competition is now limited to two candidates who are both its allies. This means it does not want to facilitate the election of a president because it benefits the most from an incapable government and paralyzed parliament.
Those in governance await signals from foreign parties and put their interests above the country’sNayla Tueni
The Future Movement hangs on to the possibility of nominating Franjieh for the presidency to sideline Aoun. This resembles Druze leader Walid Jumblatt’s plan to nominate MP Henri Helou. It is within this context that the Future Movement and Jumblatt do not spare a chance to hold democratic elections in parliament.
Their relatively weak argument contributes - even if in a small way - to delaying an agreement. However, both parties are always present in parliament, and both are convinced that they will not be able to get their candidates to the presidential palace.
Other parties do not have an answer to any of this, and have not taken any stance. They just act according to whatever is planned for them, until the time comes when a foreign agreement imposes a settlement on us. They thus confirm to the Lebanese people that despite their loud rhetoric and threats, those in governance await signals from foreign parties and put their interests above the country’s.
This article was first published in an-Nahar on July 25, 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