I’ve heard numerous times that the Lebanese presidential vacancy is very dangerous to the country and to the whole Levant Region. Yes, the Lebanese president is the only leader Christian of the Middle East and symbolically, he represents much more that the power granted to him by the constitution ; constitutionally, the president is a weak voice within the Political scene. Here’s how Jean Aziz put it on Al Monitor.
The Lebanese Constitution stipulates that if the presidency becomes vacant, the powers of the president are conveyed to the council of ministers. Note that the presidential powers themselves are not decisive and cannot stop the work of the system. The president can attend meetings of and preside over the council of ministers, but he doesn’t decide its agenda nor vote on its decisions. If he opposes a cabinet decision, he may only request that it be reviewed. If the council of ministers insists on that decision, it will go into effect two weeks after it was approved, whether or not the president agrees.
The same applies to parliament. The constitution gave the president the power to only publish the laws passed by parliament, and if he opposes a law, he may also return it to parliament for reconsideration. Yet, if a parliamentary majority insists on the law, it takes effect in one month at the most, whether or not the president agrees.
Thus, according to the constitution, the Lebanese system can, to a great extent, operate normally without a president.
Let us admit the fact that not having a president right now isn’t the end of the world. And this vacancy won’t attract more terrorists into the country to fill up this chair. IS and the like will attack Lebanon, president or not.
Do we need a president ?
Our sectarian system (the National pact) gives Sunni, Shiites and Christians roles. The PM must be a Sunni, the president of the Parliament a Shiite and the President a Christian. If we want to talk “Sectarian” (which I hate) yes, we do need a Christian voice within the leadership. And if this nonsense national pact shall continue, I believe the president role must be stronger to “compete” with Sunni and Shiite voices.
In a better world, the leaders would be chosen without looking at their Sects.
In a less better world, still sectarian, I believe that those positions must be rotatory and the President must be elected by Universal suffrage. Let us have faith in ourselves and our ability to choose a president by only ourselves.
The president would have programs and ambitions for all the regions, not his hometown nor the towns and provinces of his sect. He shall have a campaign free of corruption and a program that aims to bring equality and justice for all.
If we believe that the votes will be bought to represent another sect, exemple : A Christian President that is “the favorite of Shiites”, then we are truly lost. We have to believe in ourselves and our ability for real change.
Perhaps if we are obliged by the constitution to vote for a president that doesn’t have the same religion, we can be ready for a fully secular government, parliament, and presidency.
Enough with the pre-arranged president that represents nothing.