Saniora Warns Any Bid to Alter Political System would be 'Recipe for Explosion'
Ex-PM Fouad Saniora, the head of al-Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc, warned Friday that any imminent attempt to change the current political system would be a “quick recipe” for the “explosion” of the country.
“All remarks about amending the Taef Accord or holding a constituent assembly are all quick recipes for an explosion and for further entanglement of Lebanon in the region's conflicts,” Saniora said.
“Lebanon is going through a real crisis, but it is not a system crisis but rather a crisis of failure to implement this system,” he explained.
“Some parties are blocking the electoral process and when no president is elected, state institutions would stop functioning and Lebanon would be exposed to further threats,” Saniora noted.
He also pointed out that “some parties are trying to impose on the Lebanese an arbitrary appointment of a president rather than an electoral process.”
“We either elect the specific candidate they want or there won't be an election,” the ex-PM lamented.
Lebanon has been without a president since the term of Michel Suleiman ended in May 2014 and Hizbullah, MP Michel Aoun's Change and Reform bloc and some of their allies have been boycotting the parliament's electoral sessions, stripping them of the needed quorum.
Al-Mustaqbal Movement leader ex-PM Saad Hariri, who is close to Saudi Arabia, launched an initiative in late 2015 to nominate Marada Movement chief MP Suleiman Franjieh for the presidency but his proposal was met with reservations from the country's main Christian parties as well as Hizbullah.
The supporters of Aoun's presidential bid argue that he is more eligible than Franjieh to become president due to the size of his parliamentary bloc and his bigger influence in the Christian community.
Speaker Nabih Berri has recently stressed that “there is no alternative” to the 1989 Taef Accord that ended the civil war while ruling out the possibility of holding a so-called constituent assembly in the foreseeable future.
“Commitment to the Taef Accord is final and let no one think of any new constituent assembly. The Taef Accord is not a Quran or a Bible, but changing it is out of the question,” Berri said.
There are fears in the country that the ongoing political and presidential vacuum might eventually lead to introducing constitutional amendments or holding a constituent assembly that would radically change the current political system that is based on a delicate distribution of power among the country's sects.
Berri himself and Hizbullah have been recently accused of seeking a constituent assembly aimed at altering the political system in their favor.
In June 2012, Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah openly called for “a constituent assembly elected by the people.”
“Why don't we form a constituent assembly elected by the people -- not on a sectarian or regional basis but on the basis of competency -- in order to discuss all options. Let it discuss the Taef Accord, a new social contract or a non-sectarian system,” he said.