Unity need of the hour in Lebanon - GulfToday

Unity need of the hour in Lebanon


The spirit of the Lebanese constitution must be upheld for a credible election in the country.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun’s visit to Dar Al-Fatwa and his meeting with the highest Sunni cleric in the country, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdel Latif Derian on Saturday, and Aoun’s statement about the role of the Sunni community in Lebanese politics and emphasizing the importance of its participation in the country’s political process are positive signs.

Aoun declared that the elections will be held on time in May. His gesture is seen as a bid to counter the decision of Saad Hariri and his Future Movement, a major Sunni party, to keep away from the parliamentary election.

According to the Lebanese constitutional arrangement of 1990, there will be Christian president, a Shia speaker of parliament and a Sunni prime minister.

If any one of these three groups keep away from elections, then the democratic functioning would become lame.

Observers feel that Aoun has not done enough to check the statements of Shia leaders against Saudi Arabia and how it has damaged Lebanon’s relations with the Gulf Arab states, and that Aoun’s overture to the Sunni community is a weak move which will not repair the relations with the Sunnis.

Prime Minister Najib Mikati said that there will not be a Sunni boycott of elections. He said “Our main concern is for the state and its institutions to remain active and effective, and for elections to be held in time.

Saad Hariri explained his decision to suspend political participation: “...there is no room for any positive opportunity for Lebanon in light of the Iranian influence, international uncertainty and national division.”

In contrast, Saad’s brother, Bahaa, declared “ First of all, it must be emphasized that neither our religion, nor our morals, nor our upbringing ... allow us the sons of martyr Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, to abandon our responsibility, and we put (forward) all our capabilities for the sake of Lebanon’s renaissance.” On the other hand, a Dar Al-Fatwa source said, “Derian, along with prominent Sunni figures, decided to move toward unifying the ranks to absorb the turmoil before it was too late and to confront the Iranian control that Hezbollah relies upon on the national scene.”

The Lebanese political situation is bewilderingly complex and there are no easy solutions. The three major components of the polity, Sunnis, Shias and Christians, have to pull together despite their differences to solve the burning issue of economic collapse.

And unless the political set up functions despite the counterpulls, it will not be possible for Lebanon to pull the country out of the economic crisis.

The people are miserable and frustrated, and majority of them, including the middle class, have been nearly pauperized. The country needs a united and strong government to get the economic up and running.

The sectarian differences and conflicts will not disappear, but it becomes incumbent on leaders of the communities to work out a functional relationship to make the government function and to bring order back to the polity. It is for this reason, that parliamentary elections due in May become very important. Lebanon needs an elected government.

The Shia leaders will have to dispel the impression that Tehran is pressurizing them directly or indirectly in taking decisions that matter to Lebanon. It may be useful to Hezbollah to extend the hand of cooperation openly to the Sunni leaders. It will send a positive signal to the people of Lebanon as well as the global financial institutions.

Unity and cooperation are the need of the hour in Lebanon. No outside power can solve the problems of the country and the people. Those solutions have to be found in Lebanon and those decisions will have to be made by political leaders in Lebanon.

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