I have been thinking about this stupid presidential chair which is really wasting valuable time of mine, yours, and everyone else’s. The issue of course doesn’t stop at the Presidential chair, rather the situation has been escalating since debating whether the government is legitimate or not. In fact, the government and opposition reached a no return when the pro-opposition ministers resigned (although some of them remained attending their posts and representing Lebanon despite the fact they resigned). The presidential chair is nothing but a tip of an iceberg. If the President is elected as a reconciliatory move, would this mean that the opposition will close their tents at Down Town and return home? If that happens, what about the government, would the government mean it has been legitimate in the opposition’s eyes, and if that is the case, why did the opposition waste one year of our lives?
The Presidential chair in essence is agreed on, which is Michel Suleiman, head of the Lebanese Army. Now, the government and the opposition are just yelling at each other for technicality reasons.
The president historically was mighty powerful. He was stronger than the parliamentary cabinet that elected him. He had the power to suspend it. He was the sole supreme leader of the army. He was everything. The president, in pre-Ta’ef accord, was powerful as a result of agreement between the Sunni leaders and the Christian ones. In 1943, the Sunnis agreed to give the Christians such authority (not to forget on Parliamentary level 60-40) in return the Christians would demand that the French mandate is terminated.
In 1958, when Fouad Shehab was elected as a reconciliatory president (dubbed as The Third Force), he had constitutional authority to do what he wanted. This pushed both camps (Junblatt Sr./Salam & Jemayel/Shamoun) to push for eliminating the Shehabi regime in order to push further their own platforms.
The emulation of 1958 circumstances in 2007 is a hopeless case. The army has to remain on Nasrallah’s good side in order for it to grow stronger, not to forget the corrupted side of it (clientalism, outdated mechanisms,…etc). The current presidential position lacks any authority to do anything. The president in post-Taef is allowed simply to propose ideas. The government decides whether to implement the idea or not. The Parliamentary cabinet is the most powerful institution within the legality mechanism. It gives legitimacy to the President and the government.
The issue is not there still. What can a president do between two coalitions that have crippled the nation for more than a year. Aoun and Harriri Jr. seem more powerful than the future elected president. The president might develop schizo syndromes to keep both sides satisfied. In fact, such a president, amidst two giants, is nothing. He is just a pebble, and the battle between both coalitions remains active. So, again, what is the fuss over the president? We have been without a president for weeks and weeks. Who needs a president again? (other than the greedy politicians!!!!) We all know that the presidential chair is not the way out from this deadlock because all the current political parties are greedy for power at the Proletariat’s expense.