Thursday, June 11, 2009

But Can They Govern?

Now that the elections are over and the political coalition of March 14 managed to hold its ground, the hard work is about to begin.
It is important for the newly elected members of parliament to remember what is their role in this democratic game. Contrary to what many of them seem to think, they have not been elected in order to cash in their huge paychecks from a government that is practically bust and that survives only by passing the hat at the sight of a dollar. They have not been elected to rubber stamp all the decisions made by their tribal chiefs and they have not been elected to flaunt the law and travel in motorcades surrounded by armed hoodlums even on their way to lunch. In this game they are supposed to serve one purpose only; be an honest hard working representative of the electorate, their concerns and aspirations. They are expected to be accessible, transparent and humble but above all else they have to be principled. Members of parliament are elected to serve the public, to listen to the peoples concerns and to live up to the promises that were made during the campaign. MPs are to be trustworthy and whenever they betray the trust entrusted to them then they should not be reelected. Unfortunately many of them do and when that happens it is not the MP that is at fault but it is the citizen who is equally responsible for the efficient and democratic performance of government. No government can be held accountable unless the public at large is willing and able to judge the performance of that government.
The next phase in the political drama that is unfolding in Lebanon is for the majority to step forward, form a government and submit legislation that is geared to restore to the central government its authority, to promote fair and balanced economic development, to tackle the budget deficit, enact welfare programs geared to spread social justice, to take strong measures that would protect whatever is left of our natural endowment and to make renewable clean energy a top priority.
March 14 is expected by most analysts to form the next cabinet, possibly under the leadership of Sa’ad Hariri. Although that was a partial goal of the elections the greater expectation is to have them govern effectively with fairness and justice. But can they govern? The short answer to the question is a strongly qualified maybe. The major two pillars of March 14, Walid Jumblatt and Sa’ad Hariri have already hinted clearly about their intentions to accept challenges to the authority of government. If that comes to pass and March 14 proceeds to sweep under the carpet the issue of illegitimacy of the arms of Hezbollah then March14 would have to be considered a total failure. Those who are willing to appease warlords and go back on promises that were made during the campaign do not deserve to rule or to be entrusted. Walid Jumblatt seems to have forgotten his own pronouncements about the incompatibility of a Hezbollah and a free Lebanese state while Sa’ad Hariri is willing to call appeasement a compromise.
What Lebanon needs over the next few weeks is a concerted effort by those that value the basic principles of democracy and decency not to allow the political leadership of March 14 to forget its promises and commitments. But can they govern? The answer has to be a resounding no if they are willing to cut a deal with the largest war lord in the Middle East whose only legitimacy and that of his group is the ownership of the most sophisticated and illegal arms cache and who have no respect for the rule of law.


Eternal Skeptic said...

Will you ever be able to admit that neither March 14 nor anyother Lebanese political group will be able to govern effectively under the current system?

Anonymous said...

The short answer to your question is: No ,they have no clue of what governing entails.


Free Blog Counter