Worried Lebanese

thought crumbs on lebanese and middle eastern politics

Suleiman Mutating… What to expect after the parliamentary elections

Posted by worriedlebanese on 20/03/2009

11136021816 1. The President’s metamorphosing face

Two days ago, I stumbled on two interesting quotes from President Suleiman that signal an imminent change in his presidency. Up to now, he played his role as the Taef Agreement laid it out for him, not even as an arbitrator but as a “go-between with an attitude”. 

– “We, in Lebanon, should work to form a Senate after creating a national committee to abolish confessionalism” [quoted by the Daily star, March 18th edition].

This proposition is actually a simple reformulation of an article inscribed in the constitution following the Taef agrrement. 

– After the election, we shall embark on amending the Taëf agreements […] let us not fear those who threaten us […] and continue to resist and to defend the Cedar revolution [quoted by Orient Le Jour, March 18th edition].

After proposing major institutional changes that are actually an implementation of the Taëf Agreement: a National Committee to abolish confessionalism, the formation of a Senate… President Suleiman talks of  amending the Taëf agreements. He doesn’t specify in what way, but he is probably hinting at the revision of the powers of the President, a strong demand within the Christian community. 

2. Following Chehab’s footsteps… and not missing one mistake

These two quotes show us how Michel Suleiman envisages the remaining years of his presidency. He sees it in a more proactive way, invested with the mission of reforming the State’s institutions. This is exactly the way  President Chehab saw it. 

Moreover, he upholds the two main slogans of the rival political blocs: continuing the resistance and pursuing the Cedar Revolution. This is also a typical Chehabist posture:  conciliatory, and meant to be above the political squabble.

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