The Lebanese Presidential Elections

Position Statement by the Lebanese Information Center

November 1, 2016

 

In the wake of Lebanonís election of Michel Aoun as its new president on Monday, the Lebanese Information Center in Washington, D.C., in its quest to uphold Lebanonís status in the international community, states the following:

         First: We congratulate the Lebanese people on the election of a president after nearly two and a half years and 45 failed parliamentary sessions. This achievement should be a source of pride for Lebanonís citizens, already weathering volatile developments in a region ruled by dictatorship, despotism, and extremism.

         Second: This presidential election constitutes for Lebanon an opportunity to return to its tradition of proper democratic practices. For the last quarter century, foreign powers - chiefly Syria, through its military and political occupation of Lebanon - have dictated how state institutions function and who is at their helm.

         Third: After 29 months of a presidential vacuum prolonged by the deliberate disabling of the constitutional process, we cannot but call on the Lebanese Parliament to amend Article 49 of the Constitution, to prevent the imposition of a two-thirds quorum for its electoral sessions and thereby avoid any further wrongful interpretations of the constitution by ill-intentioned politicians. Laws and constitutions are meant to mobilize governments and legitimate authorities, not block the democratic process. The intentional boycott of presidential elections by members of parliament constituted unacceptable behavior that warrants the impeachment of responsible MPs.

         Fourth: The election of a Christian head of state in the Middle East is a clear translation of Lebanonís ideals of true partnership and power-sharing among its various religious communities. The presidency is the highest post for Christians in Lebanon, and its filling after months of vacuum gives them hope for real representation in parliament and other government institutions in the future.

         Fifth: With the start of a new presidential term in Lebanon, we look to the president to maintain good relations with Lebanonís global allies, and particularly the United States. We expect him to respect Lebanonís international commitments and obligations, especially the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions 1559 and 1701, for the sake of a free and sovereign Lebanon.

         Sixth: We emphasize to the new president the importance of Lebanon's success in its fight against terrorism, building on the tremendous success of Lebanese armed and security forces in defeating extremist militias threatening Lebanonís security, both from the Syrian borders and from within Lebanon.

         Seventh: Similarly, Lebanonís new president cannot ignore the danger posed by internal militias, Lebanese and others, chiefly among them radical Shiite movement Hezbollah. Hezbollah has intentionally developed into a state-above-the-state, hijacking national decision-making processes, threatening peace, security and stability among Lebanese communities, and executing Iranís foreign agenda at the expense of the Lebanese people.

         Eighth: The rampant corruption within the government is a rising menace, destroying the Lebanese citizenís faith in national institutions. We call on the new president and future government to eradicate this plague, in order to build a truly functioning state in the service of its citizens.

         Ninth: The Lebanese Information Center in the US remains committed to work through its organization, bolstered by its grassroots support and longstanding relationships with the US government, to build a free, sovereign and democratic Lebanon, for the good of the Lebanese people and in the interests of the United States of America.

 


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