A state held hostage

LF leader Samir Geagea speaks during an interview on MTV, Monday, June 9, 2014. (The Daily Star/Aldo Ayoub, HO)

The March 14 coalition put forward an initiative Tuesday to solve the impasse over electing a new Lebanese president, after the failure of the latest bid to hold a vote in Parliament.

And with little fanfare, politicians from the rival March 8 camp were quick to respond, with a resounding “no.” They required no meeting or discussions to evaluate what was being offered – discussions on a consensus candidate – because they have no interest in seeing an election take place.

Even the declared March 14 candidate, Samir Geagea, showed a readiness to give way to a compromise figure, while insisting that he has the right to run. The de facto, unannounced March 8 candidate, Michel Aoun, believes only that he has the right to win, and anything else is a waste of time.

The time-wasting, however, as people await the next scheduled parliamentary session Sept. 23, has tremendous costs. Lebanon is in free-fall on all levels – its economy, legislative activity, diplomatic presence and security situation, to name the most glaring areas of paralysis, all at a time of domestic and regional turbulence.

The blame for this deadlock and all of the negative repercussions for the country lies with only one party, namely Aoun and his backers.

It’s time for politicians and leaders of society to have the courage to identify who is holding Lebanon hostage to the whims of one person, who for a quarter-century has been driven by one belief – that he must be the head of state – and is ready to sacrifice anything, including Lebanon, for that goal.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on September 03, 2014, on page 7.




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