Lebanon: Seriousness of Continuing Presidential Vacuum

  • 17 December 2007

Recent warnings sent out to all Lebanese parties by various international and regional forces and by many Arab and foreign writers and analysts is that the issue of presidential vacancy facing the country and the inability to choose a candidate, due to conflicting positions of the ‘majority’ and the opposition forces, could lead the country to a dangerous situation. The deferment of parliamentary session due to differences over the appointment of the next president will directly affect the stability of the country. The recent assassination of Brigadier General François El Hajj, the chief of Lebanese armed forces, further accentuates this message to all feuding Lebanese parties. It is a message summarized by the fact that the country, in the light of the political impasse, is open to all scenarios and the instability it could face. In addition, El-Hajj is the first military personality to be assassinated, since the beginning of such political killings in 2004.

Various Lebanese factions have availed the requisite time to settle their differences on the presidency and other contentious issues. In addition, these factions have been helped by various international and regional agencies that have not been affected by the worsening situation and have continued their initiatives for forestalling anarchy in Lebanon, if the situation continues to worsen at the present pace. For this reason, it is the time for opening a new page. Various Lebanese forces and movements should agree over the candidacy of the commander of the Lebanese armed forces, General Michel Suleiman for the presidency. In addition, time is of the essence as the parliamentary session is supposed to end in December, in the wake of the upcoming Christian and Muslim festive period. Therefore, the political crisis may continue and the civil war may threaten the country. Therefore, the politically feuding parties should reiterate that they do not want to wage a civil war, and acknowledge that Lebanon will not experience a repeat of the civil war it had suffered in its recent history. The fact remains that no Lebanese party wants civil war. However, the intransigence of each party is dragging the country toward a dangerous presidential, leading the Lebanese people to the growing threat of a civil war.