The Daily Star Editorial
For generations, governance has been a tricky game in Lebanon, either due to the presence of several sects or imperialistic and neighboring designs. Power sharing has been the main theme across the years, weighed according to demographics or sectarian powers and support by European countries, as was the case in the 19th century.
Peaceful periods were governed by that sharing of authority, while periods of tension were often the result of a shakeup of those powers.
The Taif Accord attempted to put an end to the possibility of strife due to power sharing, after 15 years of bloody Civil War. That agreement was unanimously ratified by Lebanese legislators and thus became the Constitution, making it clear, to avoid future complications, that the war had had no victors and no vanquished.
Christians, in the meantime, insisted that it had deprived them of some of the presidency’s powers, since the president is always a Maronite, the prime minister Sunni and the speaker Shiite. Once Michel Aoun and his party assumed power, they started talking about powers that should be restored to the presidency – yet no one has usurped any powers and the balance among the three authorities remains intact, except in the minds of the FPM.
Such signs have grown clearer by the day and have gradually started to encroach on the powers of the prime minister and the speaker in a flagrant manner, which some of the FPM leaders have the audacity to defend as a right. The patience of other sects and their leaders is running short and had it not been for fear of instability, things would have taken a dangerous turn.
Hopefully the wise men of the FPM and the president’s close advisers will grasp the lesson’s of Lebanon’s history, in order to avoid the consequences of a situation pointing toward the fault lines.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on September 28, 2017, on page 7.