Democracy Takes Back Seat as Lebanese Call Against Hariri’s Nomination

Lebanon’s former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who resigned on October 29 after nationwide demonstrations, has supported the nomination of a businessman as a new heir to his throne. However, his decision to elect a prominent contractor for the role is seen as a politically inclined move, with public against the passing of the baton for the nation’s most premier position.

Samir Khatib, the head of a major contracting and construction company, holds no political experience and is deemed diplomatically unfit for the post. Therefore, people of Lebanon on Tuesday night, gathered at an intersection in Beirut, Ring road, and protested by blocking the road and chanting against him.

“We will not accept this as people, and we will not accept this as revolutionaries, because we know that we are heading toward the abyss with this government,” Elie Kayrouz, an anti-government protester said.

Meanwhile, the security forces also came out in numbers and tried to prevent the protestors from blocking the road and used tear gas to disperse the crowd. The move, however, only worked for a while, before demonstrators once again took control of the area and blocked the road again.

The new nomination suggested by the former prime minister is likely to make headway for the formation of a new cabinet, at the time when economic and financial crisis lingers on.

As reported, currency in Lebanon has lost its bargaining power by up to 40 per cent to dollar. The situation has given rise to high unemployment and an expected sharp decline of the economy in 2020. Local banks have also been forced to impose capital control measures, in what was a nation previously hailed for its free-market economy.

Saad Hariri who gave his name to contest in the elections again, withdrew his candidacy last week stating that he hoped it would clear the route ahead for the nation, while subsequently helping in the election of the new cabinet.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday night, Hariri said he backs Samir Khatib to become the next prime minister. “There are still some details and God willing something good” will happen, he said. “Everyone is trying to get through this difficult period,” he added.

However, Khatib is perceived as an asset too close to Hariri, and with his official nomination expected sometime soon, wider protests might trigger in worst of the ways.

Living in the shackles and demanding freedom, the people of Lebanon are not only fighting the damning effect of corruption on economy, but also losing all sense of freedom in their lifestyle.

On the contrary, as insisted by Hariri that a new cabinet should be made of independent figures and not leaders running the nation since 1970-90 civil war, why people of Lebanon can’t elect their leader, raises another question.

The next step is likely to see President Michel Aoun calling the heads of parliamentary syndicates to name a new prime minister. But since Saad Hariri still enjoys a major chunk of power, Samir Khatib will likely become the next prime minister.

If any government of the world as Abraham Lincoln said, is a “government of the people, by the people, for the people,” then why assault and bloodshed in democracies around the world is rapidly growing, has to find a fitting justification.

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