“Lebanon needs new a government, far away from all the parties,” the former Lebanese MP Imad al-Hout says, as the protests have renewed and the popular demands have increased.
Al-Hout points out that changing the government is the first and main condition for implementing the required reforms in Lebanon.
The continuing protests started one month after forming the new government led by Hassan Diab, amid deterioration of the economic situation and the fall of the Lebanese lira’s value against the US dollar, as the price of $1 has reached 3890 L.L, in addition to the increasing rates of unemployment.
Internal differences, quota and lack of confidence
According to al-Hout, the current situation is attributed to the state of instability between the ruling political blocs that started years ago, reflecting on the entire country.
The government’s failure has become obvious even for the blocs being part of it, especially in terms of combatting corruption, implementing reforms and stopping the representation quota, the main demands of Lebanese people.
According to Transparency International, Lebanon ranks 137th in corruption, while public debt has reached $ 90 billion, in line with the World Food Program warning that one million Lebanese will be below the poverty line in the coming months.
In the same context, al-Hout refers to the necessity to stop the representation policy adopted in forming governments in Lebanon, pointing out that it affects the government assignments and accomplishing the government’s task properly. It also benefits the parties’ interests on the expense of the entire country.
“As long as the current government is not able to address such practices and problems, let it be replaced with another independent government, capable of solving Lebanon’s problems,” he adds.
MENA Research and Study Center obtained information that the situation in the coalition is very tense due to the internal disputes on several issues, including the parties’ conflicts on judicial and banking positions, in addition to the differences in dealing with the protests. Moreover, there are historical differences between the major government parties, especially with the Amal movement, Hezbollah and the Aoun Party.
The Lebanese PM as well as the Aoun movement do not have any confidence in Hezbollah and the Amal movement, as they are allies with the Syrian regime, Michel Aoun’s opponent during the eighties of last century. Hezbollah and Amal movement alliance are a result by the current needs, not due to the country’s interest or convergence of visions. Therefore, the current government is a government of alliances that does not intend to make any reforms.
The recent period has witnessed an escalation between the two Christian poles of the government: the Marada Movement, headed by Suleiman Franjieh and the Free Patriotic Movement, headed by Gebran Bassil.
The leaders of the National Movement have escalated their tone as they called to disarm Hezbollah and prioritize the public interest.
Is it a new May 7 in Lebanon?
Apart from the political disputes, Badwan Abdul Nour, a political analyst, says that the government’s failure and the poverty that hit Lebanon are attributed to Hezbollah’s power, which made Lebanon’s economy based on cultivating hashish, trading it on the black market, and money laundering.
Besides, he says that one of Lebanon’s major problems is Hezbollah’s connections, particularly with the Syrian and Iranian regimes, in addition to the party’s military capacity that consists of 200,000 missiles and 50,000 militiamen and its involvement in many regional conflicts.
The current government is considered as the government of Hezbollah, which prompted the US, the EU and other Arab states to refrain from providing financial aid to Lebanon and led to the failure of negotiations with the IMF for a loan, because of the illegal crossings on the Lebanese-Syrian border, run by Hezbollah.
For the first time, the Lebanese protesters have demanded to disarm Hezbollah, and this demand is Hezbollah’s red line, which foreshadows a new 7th of May. If the government will not resign to be replaced with an independent and qualified government, Hezbollah will start implementing its plan of suppressing the protests and confronting the protestors with more violence, and this means that the party is ready for more escalation.
On May 7th, 2008, the militia of Hezbollah took control over several areas in the capital Beirut with the power of arms, against the backdrop of the government’s decision to dismantle Hezbollah’s communication network, as it was illegal.
Sectarianism and Conspiracies
One of the reasons that contributed in the government’s failure is the sectarianism that affects the government’s work, according to the Lebanese writer Saad Elias.
Elias says that Diab’s government has distributed positions between political parties according to the quota principle, ignoring the popular anger and protests that rejected that principle.
Those distributions were made under the insistence of the president of the Free Patriotic Movement, Gibran Bassil, who threatened the government by withdrawing his ministers, and consequently his party gained the lion’s share in the government.
The recent banking assignments are seen as a conspiracy against the interest of Lebanon, as Hezbollah and its partners had planned for those assignments to hold Lebanese banks responsible for the financial collapse, especially with their pressure to exclude the candidate for the position of deputy governor of the Central Bank, Mohamed Baasiri, from the list of assignments, despite his good relations with the US administration.