Wanted in Lebanon: An interim performance orientated transitional government for 6 months.

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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.

WHEN A NATION MUST ASK FOR THE PRESIDENT TO BE IMPEACHED AND THE PRIME MINISTER-DESIGNATE TO BE RECUSED.

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Lebanon has now entered into the phase of chaos. Today’s protests are less political and more about the social hardships confronting the poor and the newly impoverished, and they are cries of anger against the present living conditions. More and more incidents are being seen in supermarkets as people fight for what is left on the shelves. Scarcity is instilling fear everywhere. Scarcity of the Dollar, of food, gas, electricity, work, and the worst still, scarcity of hope is gripping the hearts of the Lebanese people and enraging them.

This dismay of the population is fueled by the fact that they are living under the governance of leaders who continually choose to ignore their demands, when they are also aware that there is a way out of this conundrum and that the only thing holding up a solution in Lebanon today, is the presence of this political class which is deliberately refusing to take action while playing the blame game with each other, in order to defer the responsibility of their incompetence.

What is more mind boggling, is that there are steps that can be taken immediately to redress the situation. The first of which is to form a Government of exceptional non-partisan specialists to carry out reforms in parallel with the start of the arrival of foreign aid. The second of which, is for Lebanon to restore all of its Arab relations without exception and to re-define its foreign policy and take into account the Syrian crisis and the problem of the Syrian refugees, and finally, Lebanon needs a new defense strategy which excludes the existence of two parallel armies operating on its soil.

After the riots, The President accused the black market exchangers for the collapse of the Lebanese Lira instead of firstly, forcing the immediate implementation of a Capital Control Law, (which has been talked about for over a year) and secondly, contributing to the effective formation of an independent Government.

It is the lack of a respectable Government which is causing the complete absence of confidence in the future of the country and is leading to the withholding of the inflow of Dollars that are so badly needed, to keep the exchange rate at a reasonable level.

Truthfully, the crisis is purely political and the bulk of the blame lies with the Presidency and its strange unholy dance with the self-appointed Prime Minister-Designate. Both being quite content to continue jousting in this ambiguous situation which conveniently allows them to keep holding onto their roles, even if these are empty of substance, while on the other side, the people suffer and starve.

They all oversaw the catastrophic financial engineering of The Central Bank without sounding an alarm about the impending collapse of the banking sector, they failed for years to implement the reforms called for by “The Cèdres” conference held in France, thus forfeiting 11 Billion Dollars of donor money for Lebanon, and finally, they were in charge of the Government for 4 years while the Amonium Nitrate was left in The Port of Beirut to decay and become extremely hazardous, leading to the explosion that destroyed over 300,00 homes and killed hundreds of people.

The Lebanese Pound has reached new lows and will continue to fall, The Governor of The Central Bank has issued dire warnings about the situation and will not be able to cover the subsidies for much longer and the matter of the fuel supply is threatening a complete black out of the whole nation.

What is happening now is a CRIME against the Lebanese people and is looking more and more like a deliberate and willful attempt to murder a nation as a result of personal malice, and the unlawful lack of exercise of public duty, resulting in the endangerment of people’s lives.

It is time for the PM Designate to recuse himself in order to make room for someone else after 7 wasted months of attempting to form a Government, a period which has only seen a catastrophic deterioration in the lives of the Lebanese.

Equally under similar conditions in any decent country in the world The President would be impeached on the grounds of gross misconduct and the continued failure to do his duty or he would resign.