In most countries, a constitution is a binding document, but in Lebanon it seems almost open to individual interpretation, with various political parties manipulating its content for their own apparent good.
As far as the presidential vacuum is concerned, it appears that no one is truly respecting the Constitution, with each sect attempting to mold it accordingly, in an attempt to gain the upper hand. This process is also seemingly shaped not just by local powers in the country, but by their foreign patrons outside.
While Syria, once the most influential of these external powers, has been largely quiet over the last few years, distracted by its own war at home, of recent, reflecting the regime’s own gains on the ground, it has become increasingly outspoken again, as have its minions in Lebanon. From senior politicians to more minor characters, the voices of those parties aligned to the Assad government, including some Christian parties, are getting louder. Talk of ending the presidential void is rising, and while these external sponsors may not be able to install a president of their choosing directly, they can certainly interfere in the sense of imposing hurdles upon any candidate they do not approve of. Any talk of commitment to democracy by these local politicians is clearly delusional.
And again, those who are suffering, at the end of the day, are the Lebanese, who are victim to a whole host of political sins. It is time for this majority, these millions of civilians, to rise up, and demand accountability and transparency from our politicians. To not dismiss politicians as inconsequential figures, but as actors whose cynical manipulation of the system, unfortunately, affects everyone’s lives.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 30, 2014, on page 7.