In the wake of Hezbollah’s visit to Russia and following the meeting between President Aoun and Prime Minister Designate Hariri yesterday to discuss the matter of the formation of the government, Sayed Hassan Nasrallah delivered a televised speech where he declared that the solution to the above issue will lie only in a Political Government and in opening up trade channels with China and Iran.
With due respect, I would like to reply to him.
With regard to his suggestion that the salvation of this country lies only with a Political Government:
1-It was political governments over decades which never worked and were the source of corrupt practices that put Lebanon in the mess it is today. In addition to which, let us not forget that it was the political class that was in power at the start of the October 17 Revolution and that they were rejected by hundreds of thousands of Lebanese who took to the streets to get rid of them.
2- We are a parliamentary system and no government proposal or project can be approved until it is passed by a law in Parliament which Hezbollah and their allies presently control. So where is the need to politicize the government?
When he says that a Government of specialists will not have any authority on the ground to control the situation if something goes wrong, then this in itself is an act of bad faith. Any Government that comes to power today consisting of experts in the field should have the complete support of all the parties in the country in order to save the country.
4- When he talks about reviving the present caretaker Government he is forgetting that this government when it was in power was called a “one color Government” and that it was unable to deliver on the aid and international support that Lebanon needed at that time. Therefore how will that be any different now? Since then, there has been the terrible explosion at the port and this caretaker Government was forced to resign by the will of the people. To bring them back would be to completely disregard the sacrifice of the martyrs of the explosion caused by the reckless presence of the Amonium Nitrate placed amidst the civilian population.
My recommendation is that a Government of non-partisan specialists be approved in the form of an interim transitional government for 6 months, pending an extension of their mandate based on a performance rating approval which Parliament can give by removing its confidence if the need may be.
As for the fluctuations of the currency there is nothing that will bring this under control except rebuilding confidence in the future of this nation. In addition to which, there is a Capital Control Law that has been waiting to be passed in Parliament for months. This must be enacted to start the process of firstly curtailing the illegal actions of the banks, and secondly normalizing the currency’s volatility, and thirdly restructuring the whole banking sector.
I do agree with the Sayed that new constitutional reforms must be put in place to establish deadlines for important events and they should encompass deadlines for the call for consultations to choose a Prime Minister, the time allocated to a Prime Minister-Designate to form a government and I would also add the time allocated for a presidential candidate to register and submit their candidacy.
With regard to future trading partners this should be part of a neutral tender process, and not driven by political preferences. In addition to which, I would like to point out that Iran is under sanctions and cannot trade with any country, and therefore it would be unwise to buy fuel from Iran at this time and this would only compound Lebanon’s problems. When Iran will have sorted out the matter of its sanctions with the USA then anything is possible if the prices are competitive.
As a final note I would like to add that the responsibility of any further delay in forming a Government that is acceptable and credible to the Lebanese people and to the rest of the world lies in the hands of both the President and the Prime Minister Designate. They can spend their time passing the blame as much as they like but the failure will be their’s. At this point concessions have to be made by both men to save the country.