BEIRUT: The departure of President Michel Sleiman from Baabda Palace after six years provoked mixed reactions Saturday on social media.
Hash tags with expressions thanking the president or mocking him were trending on Twitter, with some voicing relief over his farewell and others hailing his performance or simply voicing concern over the likely presidential void.
“Arab President leaves office at the end of his term. Arab press not sure how to explain this to the people,” Karl Sharro tweeted.
“I too would like to thank an incumbent politician for doing his job - or, punching out of work on time,” a tweet by Anthony Elghossain said.
“Treachery, excuse me, I mean leave,” tweeted senior Marada official Vera Yammine, whose political group, headed by pro-Assad MP Sleiman Frangieh, has frequently criticized Sleiman.
For her side, May Khraiche, a pro-March 8 lawyer, tweeted “joy is prevailing over the Lebanese people, the Liberation this year is doubled,” in a sign of relief over the end of Sleiman’s term, which coincides with the May 25 memorial of Lebanon’s liberation from Israeli occupation.
Journalist Fares Khashan, a pro-March 14 figure, voiced concern over the presidential void that would take over after Sleiman’s term expires.
“He did not wait until midnight to leave the presidential palace, and he has left it as a prey for vacuum,” he tweeted.
British Ambassador to Lebanon Tom Fletcher also commented on Sleiman’s departure.
“Mixed atmosphere at Baabda this morning. Affection and respect for outgoing President, mixed with concern that chair now falls empty,” he tweeted.
“Sirens as President Sleiman Michel leaves Baabda for last time. Then silence. We are in uncertain new phase. Keep calm and carry on,” the envoy said in another tweet.