Saturday, November 17, 2007

War of the Presidential Nobodies

Before starting this post I just want to remind everyone that voters should choose THREE CANDIDATES in our Blacksmiths of Lebanon Presidential Poll [RIGHT SIDEBAR]. Call it our little effort at "consensus"...

...As for our politicians' efforts, they have culminated in what Naharnet has referred to as the "War of Lists" in the nation's partisan media outlets and newspapers. The lists in question refer to the one list of presidential candidates prepared by the Maronite Patriarch and submitted to the Shiite representative of the pro-Syrian Opposition, Nabih Berri, and the Sunni leader of the Anti-Syrian majority, Saad Hariri.

All the lists are in agreement over the presence of Butros Harb, and Nassib Lahoud as the partisan candidates of the Anti-Syrian Parliamentary Majority, and of Michel Aoun as the FPM candidate [and no other party, in reality]. As for the other remaining candidates on the list, each outlet has applied its brand of speculation on the format and content of the names therein.

According to official sources and whispers, both Naharnet and NOW Lebanon, put the total number of names on the list at six and list the three "consensus" candidates as:

Demianos Qattar: Who? Qattar (47) served as the Minister of Finance in Najib Mikati's two month interim government. As far as anyone is concerned he has remained indescript throughout the Cedar Revolution and the drive to sovereignty, although he is "admired" for his work ethic and "known" for his closeness to pro-Syrians Mikati and Emile Lahoud. As President, Qattar would most likely have creative ideas made completely inapplicable by his political inexperience.

Joseph Tarabay: Who? A Ministry of Finance and banking sector veteran, Tarabay is well known in Maronite political circles, having already attained the post of President of the Maronite League as a "consensus" candidate earlier this year.

Robert Ghanem: Who? The parliamentary representative of the Rashayya district, Ghanem was elected, with the backing of both March 14th [Future Movement and PSP] and March 8th [Amal] political groups. Although his political stances have echoed those of the Anti-Syrian Parliamentary Majority, inside political circles continue to view him with some degree of suspicion, noting deep and tacit ties with pro-Syrian elements which could outweigh any outspoken positions should he become President.

Meanwhile, Ghanem's name was added to the list circulated by mock-leftist pro-Syrian media outlet Al Safir, which [quoting "European diplomatic sources"] replaced Tarabay and Qattar with the names of two other B-list candidates:

Michel Edde: An old time political veteran who has served in various ministerial posts since 1966, and, more recently, for his post as Director General of French-language Lebanese daily L'Orient-Le jour and as former President of the Maronite League [having been replaced this year by Tarabay]. Politically, Edde is known for views described as moderately anti-Syrian and actions described as ineffectual and circular. As President, Michel Edde can be expected to be as effective in solving the national crisis as Elias Sarkis was from 1976-1982.

Michel el Khoury: Another old time politician of the Michel Edde/Elias Sarkis caliber who, in addition to having filled a number of ministerial posts starting in the 1960s, is best known for being the son of the country's first post-independence President, Bcharra el Khoury. Khoury also served as Governor of the Central Bank from 1978-1985 and from 1991-1993.

In its version of the Patriarch's list of B-class candidates, Al Akhbar, another pro-Syrian Lebanese daily known for its strong ties to Hizballah and pro-Syrian elements in the Lebanese Army, classified candidates along four categories:

Political Candidates: Including Harb, Lahoud (Nassib), and Aoun.

"Consensus" Candidates: Including those names mentioned on As-Safir's list along with those of [Who?] Fares Boueiz (B-class pro-Syrian candidate extraordinaire) and [Who?] Pierre Dakkach - a "consensus" by-election candidate over whom there remains little consensus.

Economic Technocrat Candidates: Including Tarabay, Qattar, and Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh (check here and here for previous commentary and analysis).

Military: Army Commander Michel Suleiman - an unconstitutional choice known to be the option being pushed by Syria and Hizballah. Fears remain high that both groups [Syria and Hizballah] will perpetuate a violent political crisis [such as a two-governments scenario] in order to pressure the Anti-Syrian Parliamentary Majority - and the nation - to accept Suleiman as a 'salvation candidate'. For more on this check here and here.

And so, with the above - and with the exclusion of Harb and Lahoud [and Aoun, but for a different reason altogether], the country inches closer to mediocrity. I'll save further commentary for the comments section but it bears noting that the Patriarch's list did come with a number of conditions: That it be considered binding; that it be kept secret; and that Parliament convene with a quorum of 2/3 come November 21st. Should that session not convene however, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Farid Makari (a member of the Anti-Syrian Parliamentary Majority) has vowed to call Parliamentarians into session and to elect a President with [at least] 65/128 majority.

For a look at my previous commentary and analysis of the upcoming Presidential elections follow this link or check this post. And don't forget to cast your vote [for your top three Presidential candidates] in our Blacksmiths of Lebanon Presidential Poll.


  1. Anonymous10:26 PM

    BSJ I want to bring your attention to something. In typical 3aouneh fashion a guy has been sitting and hitting aoun aoun aoun aoun aoun on the poll over and over again to push aoun's numbers up.

    you put you should vote for 3 people, now he is pushing aoun kattar boueiz aoun katta boueiz aoun kattar boueiz. Can you stop this cheating? This dos not reflect the will of the people.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. anonymous:

    Thanks for your comment. The voting system on my polls is open to manipulation if one is so inclined and has been for a while.

    I figure people will be curious and respectful enough to not try and manipulate the results. Sometimes I'm proven wrong.

  4. Anonymous10:42 AM

    Tarabay is from the same town as Butros, therefore he is a competitor!

  5. What do we know for sure? Very little, but one thing we do know is that the Hezbollah candidate is on the "list" - it was delivered to the Patriarch.
    I don't think it will be that difficult to figure out "who" it is once the list is public.

    Hint - it's not Aoun
    Hint #2 - Hezbollah English website is now profiling a candidate.

  6. Jimmy5:39 PM

    Ace: Hint 2 is a confirmation of suspicions surrounding Ghanem's politics (and in fact, his entire candidacy).


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