Below is the translation of an open letter addressed to President Michel Aoun written by Kataeb leader Samy Gemayel and published in L'Orient Le Jour newspaper.
I am writing you this open letter, at this grave moment in our history, because time is pressing. The Lebanese are suffering while their institutions are at a stalemate and calling on parliamentarians to convene for consultations that are constitutionally necessary to designate a Prime Minister is overdue. Even prior to your election, I was convinced that Lebanon’s destructive system of governance could not be combated from within, but only by a resolute opposition in which I was engaged with vigorous commitment. It is with this conviction that we decided to resign from the Salam government and refused to be part of the agreement that led to your election.
Do you recall my repeated warnings? Do you remember when the members of the system deemed my statements as demagogic?
Seemingly, the most recent legislative elections would have given this system a new legitimacy. The same political parties that spearheaded your mandate sensed that voters have given them an undisputed political cover. Three years have passed without these parties or the governments during your tenure showing any concern over the foretold disaster. Since three years, you were unable to rectify the course, but on the contrary, you greatly aggravated the situation precipitating an imminent collapse.
In fact, voters had not given a new legitimacy to the system’s predators; they have given them a one last chance to change the system and to act in the public interest. However, this chance unfortunately was not seized.
Perhaps the most memorable event of your mandate has occurred before your eyes, but was beyond your control, which is the Lebanese uprising. Indeed, the Lebanese citizens have risen up in a sublime movement of unity, resolve, justice, creativity, humor and wisdom. Citizens have made a strong and resolute commitment against the system that is destroying their country and leading them to social and economic disaster, unemployment and poverty.
The policies of this moribund system have led Lebanon to top the charts in the global rankings of poor governance, to say the least, while the uprising has earned the respect of the world.
The delay in parliamentary consultations is aimed at forming the Cabinet in a way that conforms to requirements set by political parties that have proven their mismanagement. Not only did they misuse Constitutional laws but they also reinforced the system of sharing loot that is condemned by all and rushed us towards the abyss.
The two previous governments have been unable to manage the country and avoid the crisis, quite the opposite; they were gripped by bickering and divisions, gauging shares and exemplifying bad governance. Attempting to reproduce the same mentality in the new government as the one in former Cabinets is absurd and entails a catastrophic effect on the country.
The citizens rightly ask that a Prime Minister is designated so that in turn an independent government of specialists is formed whose only concern would be to rescue the country.
When reference is made to independent specialists, it means repudiating the mentality of partitioning shares between ruling parties, rejecting the logic of predetermined names and refusing the designation by each of those parties of a number of ministers who would appear to be of specialties but in reality are party representatives.
Despite the exigency of the demand, you continue to postpone deadlines, to drain their meaning and preserve the same old system. The delay and the ongoing negotiations have indeed already diverted parliamentary consultations from their original purpose, given that by the time you set a date for them to be held, everything will have already been decided.
When you finally summon them, will lawmakers have to lend themselves to a lamentable comedy to ratify the result of the current negotiations? Have you not noticed that the ongoing talks are part of a bygone era?
The uprising has drawn a separating line between the citizens’ modern vision and the schemes that were the only way the existing system worked.
The government has used the excuse that it has to obtain both the trust of the people and that of the majority parties in the Parliament so as to justify not holding consultations, not responding to people’s demands and derogating from the provisions of the Constitution. What an unheard-of statement! Shamelessly, they are making a clear and dangerous statement, outlining that the Parliament’s interests are different from those of the people and the public.
Is it possible, that after putting forward such an argument and having confirmed that the Parliament is at odds with the people, that new elections are not yet organized?
As you may know, we have already introduced a bill to shorten the term of the current Parliament to May 6, 2020.
The dissociation between two visions of Lebanon has taken place today. I can only regret the insistence on keeping the old moribund vision on life support.
Time is running out, the country is collapsing, the citizens are suffering, and the ongoing negotiations are an attack on the construction of a modern Lebanon.
A Prime Minister must be appointed, after parliamentary consultations are held and not as a result of dubious negotiations. A government of specialists of indisputable independence, capable of managing good governance, fighting corruption and dealing with the crisis, needs to be formed. Finally, early parliamentary elections must be arranged.
The choice is in your hands. You either get involved, even if it is rather late, to the new vision of Lebanon that the Lebanese have decided to build, or you let the petty political interests of one another to drag your mandate and the country into the abysses of history.