Greetings and Good Day,
In an extremely fast world, where a 777 jetliner disappears or is diverted to unknown location, where a very divisive referendum might wreak havoc to EAST/WEST relations and where the Syrian crisis is exporting only refugees without any solution in sight, Lebanon is at the door step of electing a new president.
In fact after the approval of the Lebanese cabinet statement, it will win soon the confidence in parliament and this will project the short living cabinet to dedicate full energy to the national dialogue, the new electoral law, the sovereign fund for oil and gas, the devolution and other issues in public administration and the social networking.
The electoral law will be based on 128 plus 48 as explained in a previous post, the national dialogue will debate the defense strategy and the small amendments to the constitution enabling the president to call for early elections in case of a standoff.
The social networking will guarantee the worker for health issues and financial means in his pension, while devolution will delegate to the regions or “Mouhafazat” more powers.
The Lebanese parliament will require putting a mandate limit for the speaker and a possible rotation between the roles of the speaker and the PM can be envisaged while keeping the Lebanese formula of balance and equilibrium of 50/50 share in the public domain distribution and allocation of representation and assignments.
However the demographic change in Lebanon is true and the tripartite division required by the warring factions is correct in principle and its application can be on the financial attribution of the state funds to the regions based on 3 thirds, where also municipalities will have a mandate limit for the administrators in order to guarantee change and rotation.
For this principle of special Lebanese formula of coexistence, I see the reforms coming based on a mix of 50/50 in state administration and 3/3 in finances.
It is understood that the coming period will see a self decision by Hezbollah to withdraw from the Syrian crisis and that the Israeli / Palestinian talks will come to their last stage.
The US and RUSSIA will most likely find a way to compromise in UKRAINE based on some amendments and addendum and this will maintain the win/win approach, Putin might be a strong wolf, but he is no stupid .
Therefore a compromise is the outcome in Crimea.
So until an international solution is brokered in Syria, the Lebanese national interests need to be defined in the immediate, in 3 things: empower the state to protect its borders and citizens, reform the system in all its ramifications, and amplify the checks and balances of the informed citizenry.
Key in all this is the next presidential mandate and in my perception there are two options possible, both excluding the classic and traditional names being floated.
The two personalities that can fill the palace in my view are either a civil or a military. It is known that a military will need renewed constitutional amendments; in truth General Jean Kahwaji has excellent chances to gather consent and represent a fulcrum for the delicate interaction of different strategic players in the Lebanese arena.
I was never with a military option, and when President Suleiman was elected, I supported until the last second, the alternative of the MARONITE league’s president, at the time Mr. Joseph Tarabay.
Having learned from that experience I will support malgre’ moi , as a first option the military man, future president Kahwaji, and as a plan B, the civil option based on the actual president of the maronite league Mr. Samir Abi Lamaa, or better a last minute female candidacy represented by Mrs Nadine Moussa whenever she will reveal prompt to build on her excellent chances.
At last I will say that following the election of the new Lebanese president, a new cabinet will have to be formed to supervise the general elections and perhaps in June we will see it taking shape.
The P5 plus one will resume talks with Iran on the nuclear file and most likely observers will be considering the results of this path in a couple of months. As much as the chemical stockpile of Syria.