Thursday, May 03, 2007

Bringing Debate to the Presidency

This post is about trying to bring together the Lebanese online community in an effort to put serious questions to those who will aspire to the seat of the Presidency of the Republic of Lebanon.

What I propose is a joint effort, reflecting the opinions of bloggers from across the political spectrum, to draw up a draft document for each Presidential hopeful, listing our questions to those leaders, asking them about the issues that concern us as citizens of the country, and their proposals for leading Lebanon into a new dawn.

Seeing as there are only two men who have publicly nominated themselves for the Presidency (Chibli Mallat and Michel Aoun), only one of whom actually resides in Lebanon, I propose that the first document be drawn up for Aoun and submitted to FPM party officials in the hopes that they - being the first Lebanese political movement to exhibit 'cyber-awareness', although the rest are catching up (check our Lebanese Political Parties section in the sidebar) - will see the benefits in engaging the general Lebanese public in such a way.

For this to be succesful and appealing to those candidates and the majority of Lebanese, it really must be a joint effort, free of personal biases. That is why I suggest that if enough bloggers are interested, we launch a new site (through blogger) dedicated solely to this endeavour. I personally think that we can accomplish something with this - if not in the results of the Presidential election, at least in the way in which this issue is discussed.

To that effect, I will issue a personal invitation to those Lebanese blogs with which I already have links to join us in this endeavour:
  • Failasoof
  • Independence '05
  • UrShalim
  • Jeha's Nail
  • Remarkz
  • Marxist from Lebanon
  • Voices on the Wind
  • Tears from Lebanon
  • French Eagle
  • Across the Bay
  • From Beirut to the Beltway
  • Middle East Street
  • Lebanonesque
  • Rampurple
  • ...and anyone else who is interested!

Just leave a comment in this post's comments section, let us know if you think this is a good idea, let us know what improvements or adjustments we can make, and let us know what questions you have for our candidates.


  1. How about Riad Salameh as an candidate. He was very much in discussion before Charles Rizk launched a somewhat dirty campaign to discredit him. After that his name kinda went under.

  2. Arabic Coffee Pot11:53 PM

    What campaign!?

  3. Good Idea.

    Maybe you guys can start a draft list somewhere (as a post) , and bloggers can suggest edits and new ideas, in the comment section.

    Once the list finalized, it could be sent to whomever is interested (via their web sites or PR people or whatever, even perhaps newspaper who could push it on front of candidates)

  4. Great Idea.

    I would like to know more about Demianos Khattar (Finance Minister in the Mikati Government) and what are the chances of his nomination for the Post.

    The couple of times I have heard him in interviews he has come across as articulate and intelligent. If anybody out there has any material on this persons' ideas I would appreciate it if they could point me in the right direction.

  5. Anonymous5:01 AM

    very nice blog, great idea also!

    My first choice is Dr. Geagea, but since he made it clear that he will not be running i went with my second choice Mr. Nassib Lahoud.

    I would suggest that you remove Samir Geagea from the list to get more relevant and accurate results.


  6. Hey Jade,

    I am in.


  7. Anonymous12:38 PM

    "My first choice is Dr. Geagea"

    Theres a man who really would bring the Lebanese together......After all the majority of Shia, Sunnis, Druze and Christians all hate him in equal measure.

  8. Jade, I'm in man. You guys figure out what you wanna do, and let me know. I'm ready to help.

    Great idea by all means!

  9. Anonymous6:54 PM

    Sleman is also not candidate

  10. Hi Everyone,

    Thanks for your excellent replies and your enthusiasm! My extra-bloggular world is dominating my day today but I will jump in with some ideas on how we can start by the end of the day!

    In the meantime, keep spreading the word to whoever else is interested.


    PS - Thanks to all those who replied wrt to our first monthly presidential poll, I will take your recommendations into account for next month's poll. If there are any more comments related to the poll feel free to post them in the comments section dedicated to that topic in the post just below this one. Thanks

  11. Anonymous10:16 PM

    i think samir geagea would make an excellent president. he understands the reality of what is going on today, has the courage to stand up to hizballah, syria and iran and has renounced the civil war mentality.
    however since he has no intention of running for president, i voted for nassib lahoud. he deserves it and no one can question his integrity.


  12. Anonymous11:18 PM

    put ghattas khoury

  13. ghassan karam6:53 AM

    The idea that a Presidential candidate must run a transparent campaign in which she explains her ideas and stands on the major issues of the day is very appealing. However, such campaigns do not take place whenever the electors are not the general public but only a handful of PM's. There is nothing to be gained by a candidate from a campaign geared to those that have no say in her elections. To hold the presidency accountable to the masses is also predicated on the "strong presidency" model which I am not convinced is the case in Lebanon.

    I hope that your efforts in this regard bear fruits but I will not be surprised if the candidates just disregard your entreaties.

  14. Hey Ghassan,

    On the topic of a Presidential campaign being geared to MP's, as opposed to the general public, you're absolutely right. But we'll try and see what we can get out of it.

  15. Jimmy5:31 PM

    Its a good effort, good luck.

  16. I'm in... As long as we stay away from sophistry and circular arguments.

  17. Hello Jade,

    Sorry I couldn't respond earlier. I've been (and still am) overworked (not to mention underpaid :-)) lately.

    Anyway, thanks for counting me in. I think it is worth a shot, regardless of how efficient it will be or whether we all take part or not.

    If I find any time soon to take part, I will.
    Good luck.

  18. Hi,

    Very nice idea, and I will surely try my best to help.

    So when do we start asking the questions ;)



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