I was watching LBC on the day after the large turnout of February 14. A very short appearance of Geagea criticizing Nasrallah’s
monopolistic control over peace and war, there was no analysis over yesterday’s participations, and suddenly LBC switched to social
affairs. I zapped around and stopped at Future TV as the moving banner was just indicating what was coming next; an evaluation of yesterday’s Christian’s participation. Few minutes later down this review, Geagea appeared but for a longer period of time than on LBC, as he also discussed the presidential elections and of a new initiative to come if it does not happen any time soon. Recently, colleagues and friends also noted the subtle existence of a partial blackout on Geagea. How irresponsible of Daher to think that he can enjoy his upper hand during these critical times. Is Daher in such a hurry for consuming his revenge in anticipation of the outcome of his conflict with Geagea over LBC’s ownership? He reminds me of Aoun when he took his political ambitions over and above our national interests. And what a dear price we are still paying!
Category Archives: Hassan Nasrallah
I was watching LBC on the day after the large turnout of February 14. A very short appearance of Geagea criticizing Nasrallah’s
To say the least, many are mixing the two together which is creating a lot of confusion. In order to clarify the matter I shall start by reproducing several articles from Lebanon Constitution (this English translation reflects exactly the original arabic text) that are related to the QUORUM and to the BALLOT of the presidential election process. It is wrong to come up with any interpretation on the matter if one has no access or has not read the original texts. We clearly need to differentiate between QUORUM from BALLOT. Take note that article 34 deals with the quorum, and that article 49 deals with the ballot.
Article 34 [Quorum]
The Chamber is not validly constituted unless the majority of the total membership is present. Decisions are to be taken by a majority vote. Should the votes be equal, the question under consideration is deemed rejected.
Article 49 [Presidential Powers]
(1) The President of the Republic is the bead of the state and the symbol of the nation’s unity. He shall safeguard the constitution and Lebanon’s independence, unity, and territorial integrity. The President shall preside over the Supreme Defense Council and be the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces which fall under the authority of the Council of Ministers.
(2) The President of the Republic shall be elected by secret ballot and by a twothirds majority of the Chamber of Deputies. After a first ballot, an absolute majority shall be sufficient. The President’s term is for six years. He may not be re-elected until six years after the expiration of his last mandate. No one may be elected to the Presidency of the Republic unless he fulfills the conditions of eligibility for the Chamber of Deputies.
(3) It is also not possible to elect judges, Grade One civil servants, or their equivalents in all public institutions to the Presidency during their term or office or within two years following the date of their resignation or their leaving office for whatever reason.
Article 73 [Election of the President]
One month at least and two months at most before the expiration of the term of office of the President of the Republic, the Chamber is summoned by its President to elect the new President of the Republic. However, should it not be summoned for this purpose, the Chamber meets of its own accord on the tenth day preceding the expiration of the President’s term of office.
Article 74 [Vacancy of Presidency]
Should the Presidency become vacant through the death or resignation of the President or for any other cause, the Chamber meets immediately and by virtue of the law to elect a successor. If the Chamber happens to be dissolved at the time the vacancy occurs, the electoral bodies are convened without delay and, as soon as the elections have taken place, the Chamber meets by virtue of the law.
The Chamber meeting to elect the President of the Republic is considered an electoral body and not a legislative assembly. It must proceed immediately, without discussion or any other act, to elect the Head of the State..
By differentiating QUORUM from BALLOT, the text is clearly stating that the two-thirds majority requirement is for the first ballot and not for the quorum. I will take back an analysis I made in a previous post that illustrates that very point.
In this simple scenario we will take for granted what the March 8 coalition states that a two-thirds quorum is the only constitutional interpretation. Let us say that the majority has 51% (read: 50% + 1) of the members of the parliament and the minority 49%. If all of them go to the parliament, obviously the majority wins. Since the minority can’t get its candidate through, it decides to boycott the elections and the country has no president. Let us expand now the majority to 66% of the members of the parliament (1% short from the twothirds majority) and shrink the minority to 34%. The minority decides to boycott the election and we obtain the same result: no quorum, no president.
Who can believe that the Lebanese constitution is meant to say that 34% of the members of a parliament, that represent a minority in any democracy of these modern worlds, can simply paralyze a country? Nobody can, of course. This is why the minimum quorum required to elect the President of the Republic must be 50% +1 and no more. Should the March 8 tenors stop confusing themselves between QUORUM and BALLOT, they will ultimately resist this temptation of manipulating peoples’ minds.
Now to the question whether the March 8 politicians are aware of this differentiation, the answer is yes and this is why: Lahoud, Nasrallah, Ra’ad, Frangieh, Wahhab, Berri, and Aoun are daily panicking with the idea that the March 14 coalition would eventually elect a president with a simple majority. They know that they cannot stop it democratically so they turned their speech into a continuous flow of threats of civil war, civil unrest, and lately from Aoun: partition. The best part is that they want to make the March 14 responsible, up front, for a decision they plan to take after the 24th of November.
The March 8 politicians need to know that they can longer blame others for the decisions they take. With power and authority come responsibility and accountability. You will be held responsible and accountable for your decisions and actions.
In the pro-opposition newspaper Al-Akhbar, the newspaper chairperson Ibrahim Al-Amine wrote on August 13:
If the majority team is more confused because of the abundance of candidates among its ranks, it is helped by the support of a large swathe of the Lebanese people and influential factions among the Arabs and the rest of the world while the opposition seems to be more comfortable with the fact that it has only one candidate, the head of the Fee Patriotic Movement General Michel Aoun who enjoys strong support from a large popular mass that includes more than half the Lebanese population.
I beg to differ.
Firstly, let’s get the facts straight. The only person from the opposition to officially endorse Aoun’s candidacy was Wiam Wahab who isn’t high enough in the hierarchy. His statement is simply not enough to make Aoun the official opposition’s candidate. I want to hear it from Berri. Even more, I want to hear it from Nasrallah. Yet, should we not hear the needed endorsement from such figures, that too will say a lot. Back on December 1, 2006, the opposition took for the streets and launched their first day of occupation over Downtown Beirut. Note that back then only Aoun was present. Berri and Nasrallah did not support the orange leader as he led on the Shi’a crowds (remember, few were the Christians who attended that day). Then, the implications of the absence of the Shi’a leaders was understood: they did not take Aoun seriously. Let’s see if they’ll take him seriously today.
Secondly, Aoun does not have the support of more than half of the population. If that were the case, why isn’t he majority leader in the Parliament?
Now let’s go back to Al-Amine’s above argument. He is suggesting that March 14 is unsure of itself whereas the opposition (read: FPM) is fully backing one candidate. My question: since when was diversity a problem?
March 14 is not a political party and therefore is not limited to the nomination of one candidate. The FPM is restricted by party regulations and therefore must nominate one candidate to avoid a conflict of interest within the party itself.
Given that March 14 is a cluster of different political parties and groups that do not have political party status, these different groups have the right to present as many candidates as they wish (of course within the rationale of some sort of meritocratic rubric). The result is the nomination of people like Boutros Harb and Robert Ghanem and perhaps in the near future Nassib Lahoud or Nayla Mouawad.
The fact that these people should feel comfortable nominating themselves within the March 14 democratic spirit is impressionable. They will be a source of competition for each other, and at the end of the day, will not insult or discredit each other. Furthermore, the losers of the elections will accept their loss in good team spirit and support the March 14 candidate that makes it through. This, Mr. Al Amine is democracy not confusion.
I was able to get my hands on a translation of Nasrallah’s recent speech. Unfortunately, for some reason, the last couple of paragraphs are cut. I’ll try to get the text of those two paragraphs in the next couple of days and I’ll repost the speech hopefully soon. Until then, you can access the speech on the .doc link below.
Credit goes to Mideastwire for translating the speech.
Where do we go from here? We may not know for sure but definitely not to where Nasrallah wants to go.
Nasrallah is right to say that all of the 14th of February speeches were tuned and well-orchestrated. The real shock for Nasrallah is that the 14th of March managed to deliver what he always dreamed of, which is: to deliver. The 8th of March did not deliver neither democratically or other wise. What has probably surprised him the most is the strong participation of the Lebanese Forces. This is how and why Aoun knows that it is over and Nasrallah knows that he is alone leading the Shi’as to the unknown.
In modern life, whether social or corporate, an intelligent leader would put his utmost effort to evaluate what went wrong and engage a rectifying initiative to re-position himself and his party. If Aoun and the FPM party leaders do not know how to engage into such corrective action, Nasrallah does not see the need for it at all. This is like saying all that has happened since the 12th of July 2006 till the 14th of February 2007 has not altered his capacity to make a difference. While the FPM will shrink beyond recognition in two years from now, Nasrallah will continue to spend money and move against the odds, hoping to breach the wall sometimes and somewhere. Meanwhile we wait.
If we could spend ages arguing the need for the resistance, we can easily argue that Hezbollah is not entitled to political money. This is Iranian money used to topple our government in the Downtown, to make war, and to prepare for more. Instead Hezbollah needs to pay broadly, from a position of responsibility, to all the damages it made to the country’s infrastructure, to compensate for the dead and the injured, for the negative GDP, and for the restaurants and corporations that are housed in the downtown area.
The virulent speeches of Jumblatt and Geagea are here to reflect what they, the political leaders know, and not what we, the constituents, think we know: that it is not over yet. While it is over for Aoun, it is not yet for Nasrallah.
There is a large amount of recent past and ongoing contradictions between “what is being said,” “what is being told,” “what is being done,” and “what is not being done.” The difference between “what is being said” and “what is being told” is what a politician says versus what he is being asked to say. Classifying the statements into these two categories will allow us to allocate a “true” or “false” annotation to every statement and to move towards a clearer understanding, which means to see what is behind the cloud of contradictions.
For example, why does Aoun not respond to Siniora’s telephone call? Kanaan is “told” to say that: the situation is difficult and what we need is a serious solution and not simple phone conversations. The disturbing March 8 upcoming course of action will therefore pit what is actually “what is not being done” (i.e. not listening to what Siniora has to say) against “what is being done” (i.e. discreding up front what Siniora wants to say).
Nasrallah “says” to the families that suffered deaths on the 25th of January to refuse the logic of vengeance. Whereby the day after on the 29th of January, Nawwaf Moussawi is “told” to invite the same families to carry out vengeance against Joumblatt. What Hezbollah is actually “doing” is implying that Joumblatt is behind the snipers although the two snipers in custody are Syrian nationals. Unless Nasrallah is ready to put this personal vendetta ahead of his big plan, then we can but wonder whether March-8 is really keen to preserve unity, street peace, and order.
For the first time ever, Sleiman Frangieh “says” that the Christian leaders have to sign the “protocol of honor” as patronized by Bkerke. The same day, Kanaan was “told” by Aoun to ask for the same. What Frangieh and Aoun “have not done” before the 23rd of January is to call the Christian leaders to sign the said “pact of honor.” What Frangieh and Aoun “want to do” is to contain and block Geagea’s intervention power before the March 8’s next course of action.
Many earlier events related to the tribunal, the resignation of the ministers, or the street events of early December, which, if analyzed at the time, would have showed that something was about to happen then. And, in fact, many things have happened since.
Contradictions are here to hide that something new is about to happen. What contradictions cannot hide, however, is the March 8th’s continuous discounting of people’s intelligence.