Lebanon’s Parliament Extension is a lesser evil
Nov. 06, 2014/ The Daily Star
After completing an initial 17-month extension of Parliament’s mandate, the body again voted Wednesday to extend its term yet again, this time by two years and seven months, but those criticizing the move should consider the alternative.
Democratic systems should be dictated by the electorate, not those in power. But it is simply unfeasible for new elections to be held by Nov. 20 – in terms of the budget required, time to campaign and the lack of a new election law. So on top of a presidential vacuum, the country – beset by a whole host of problems – would also be without a Parliament.
This is not the first time Parliament’s term has been extended – during the Civil War the unstable situation required a pragmatic approach to the situation, rather than rigidly sticking to four-year terms. So too does the chaotic situation now.
The current extension is the lesser of two evils, and hopefully the situation can be smoothed out before the full two years and seven months.
But for some parties – namely the Free Patriotic Movement – to have boycotted Wednesday’s vote and to be so fiercely critical of the extension is not only disingenuous, it is damaging. All parties knew that an extension was inevitable, for lack of a new election law, and to pretend otherwise is hypocritical.
Were the FPM as genuinely concerned with the situation as they now claim to be, they could have done a lot more to suggest new election laws in the last 17 months. It does no good to simply criticize for the sake of attempting to shore up popularity.
The popularity of Christian parties is at an all time low, and their electorate has been let down by too many broken promises. They are mature enough to know when they are being lied to.