Important Stage in the History of Lebanon

  • 7 June 2009

Today’s elections in Lebanon mark a crucial period for the country’s polity. The results of these elections would determine the country’s future and the coexistence between its different sects in times to come. The period preceding the elections witnessed dangerous levels of tension caused by political statements made by certain Lebanese forces in addition to events that stirred political and social unrest. Today, elections hold special importance, as Arabs and Lebanese would turn the page on a period of tensions that Lebanon has endured for many years. The elections, would hopefully, usher in a new era. First, the phase could reestablish values of dialogue and coexistence, no matter how divergent the various points of view may be. Second, it could strengthen the reference of the Lebanese state, its systems and institutions that unite all forces and sects. Third, these elections could promote higher Lebanese interests and help it rise above all narrow sectarian concerns.

Today, Lebanese forces and parties are seeking to garner votes through their programs, which are subject to public scrutiny. Irrespective of the results of these elections, they represent a victory for Lebanon—the state, people and its institutions—that have greatly suffered in the past. The sectarian and political squabbles during the election campaign have raised apprehensions about elections in Lebanon today. Lebanese voters are undoubtedly capable of eliminating such concerns and bringing about a positive change in these elections. By identifying their electoral choices, Lebanese people could send an important message today to their political forces highlighting their faith in real democracy based on national competitiveness between programs and policies and not on sectarian competitiveness based on fanaticism.

Today’s elections provide a great opportunity that should be availed by the people to build a stable and balanced Lebanon, free of conflicts and animosities, particularly as these elections follow a period of violence that have put the country on the verge of a civil war.  Lebanese people consider the general elections as a peaceful means for dealing with political conflicts. Therefore, if they cannot avail this framework for resolving conflicts, Lebanon will be in great danger. Thereafter, other more dangerous options would come into play to resolve the conflict that would lead to dramatic consequences. This reality should be clear to voters and to all the various political forces while approaching the elections. Everyone should know that elections are a means to serve the nation and not a means to impose sectarianism and personal agendas.