Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Lebanese presidency after Ta'if (and the new response by Elias)

"If there is one thing that unites Lebanon’s Christian parties, it is their revanchist attitude toward Ta’if and their demand that the President’s powers be restored." Man. This is patently untrue.  Christian political parties are not that dumb, not even the Lebanese Forces.  There is not a single Christian political party in Lebanon, not even the Phalanges, which calls for the restoration of the presidential powers of pre-1975 Lebanon.  The civil war was largely fought over this very subject, and the demographic realities of Lebanon today would make such a call seems rather kooky.  Also, "President Michel Sleiman has similarly been able to do more with his limited powers than the Constitution suggests. "  Are you serious? Can you name one achievement of Sulayman? One, not two?  What was he able to do? You mention that he nominated Ziyad Barud but the man, by his admission, was basically superseded in all of his decisions by his "subordinate" Ashraf Rifi, who ran the show as he wished, with total disregard of his supervising Minister.  As for the electoral law, Sulayman had nothing to do with it.  Also, you say: "Conversely, we’ve seen the powers of the Prime Minister (who is, textually speaking, primus inter pares) effectively eroded since 2005".  In fact, it can be argued that the powers of the prime minister has been largely strengthened since 2005 because the Syrian regime ran the show and ran the prime minister before 2005.  Back to the drawing board.

PS It would be more accurate to say that Christian parties call for the strengthening of the powers of the presidency but not for their full restoration. 

PPS: Here is the response to my criticisms from Elias.   I may disagree here and there with Elias but here is a man with whom one enjoys a civil debate.