Is this how Hezbollah serves Michel Aoun?
If we believe in Lebanon as a democracy, we accept that Christian leader Michel Aoun becomes president if he is elected by a majority in parliament
If we believe in Lebanon as a democracy, we accept that Christian leader Michel Aoun becomes president if he is elected by a majority in parliament. Democracy obliges us to accept results no matter what they are. It means we must congratulate the new president, give him a chance to implement his plan, and help him whenever possible because Lebanon - like all countries - needs a president and the regulation of institutions’ work.
However, in Lebanon we live a different reality that does not resemble democracy at all. The era of Syrian tutelage, which long controlled the presidency, seems to go on as Hezbollah has inherited its role and is telling the world and the Lebanese people: “Either elect Aoun or there will be no president.”
Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Naim Qassem reiterated this stance on Sunday: “He who wants to elect a president only has one path to take, and it leads to… Aoun. Superpowers, regional countries, the UN Security Council and the Arab League can’t alter this path. They’ve tried to do so for more than two years now, and haven’t achieved anything… The region’s developments, whether negative or positive, can’t change this path.”
If Hezbollah really wants Aoun as president, it should negotiate to help achieve this goal instead of taking to platforms and defying everyoneNayla Tueni
Helping or hindering?
I do not know if Hezbollah thinks it is serving Aoun with this provocative and snobbish approach - which does not take anyone inside or outside Lebanon into consideration - or whether it is adopting a policy of burning him by increasing others’ intransigence, so it eventually tells him: “We did what we were supposed to do but couldn’t achieve any results.”
If Hezbollah really wants Aoun as president, it should negotiate to help achieve this goal instead of taking to platforms and defying everyone. It has even lost those who could have met it halfway. It must also soften its sharp rhetoric against Arab countries. It must not hail insults and threats against them, then ask them not to object to its presidential candidate.
Hezbollah is harming Aoun and his history of struggle and domestic and foreign relations, and pushing others to reject him. If it manages to present him as a candidate by defying everyone, not via consensus, this establishes an era where Aoun’s failures almost precede his successes. Why does he accept all this? Is he not aware of what the “me or nobody else” approach means in the history of people and their countries?
This article was first published in an-Nahar on Sept. 19, 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
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