“The Powerful President” or “Bay el-Kel”, partner to Hezbollah and Nabih Berri and others on whose behalf General Qasim Suleimani declared their alliance the parliamentary majority after the 2018 elections, had achieved more power than any other president in the history of the Lebanese Republic had. His son in law is the minister of exterior and the head of the largest parliamentary bloc. Along with his allies, he controls two thirds of the cabinet with himself controlling one third. This control is the result of all that has happened in the past 10 years, including the disruption of previous governments and imposing a presidential vacancy that lasted over two and a half years.
Yesterday, the president admitted in a televised interview that he was helpless and had no power to fulfill the demands of the popular protests. Aoun practically admitted that he was a weak president not a strong one. This is because he could not answer any demand laid by the protests, nor did he even attempt to pledge any kind of swift reform. The excuse is and always has always been ready and available; it is that he alone cannot achieve it. He went as far as to debunk all notions that had always been good grounds for rebellion against authorities. The president is known to be the strongest between the Christians in the Lebanese parliament, and he had always criticized former president Michel Sleiman describing him as weak and unrepresentative of the Christian majority.
The myth of the strong president has fallen. It was exposed by the rebellion on October 17th, especially in the Christian communities that have completely given it up. Even the son in law himself dares not use it anymore. What has been established as fact in conclusion to the past three years is that the strong president is Hassan Nasrallah despite his inferior number of MP’s and cabinet ministers to Aouns tally.
Aside from backing Hezbollah today, Aoun’s remaining role in the government was only to take part in the corruption and receive is fair share of quotas in the government and public funds. He provided his party fully share of participation in the same clientelism partaken by Speaker Berri, and Walid Jomblatt and others, thus turning the government fully into a sectarian and partisan cash cow.
Upon this structure, the presidency spent the past three years. It was a perfect scheme of plundering the government and destroying the constitution, the law, and justice in Lebanon. The president was strong in claiming his share of the corruption, not in changing the rules of the corrupt game. The president was not helpless when it came to be involved in corruption, but only in protecting the rule of law. We can here conclude, and from the president’s speech yesterday and all that has happened, that power is presented when there is something to take advantage of within the government, and not when the country is in need of rescue or applying the laws limiting corruption and theft. In fact, It is then, when the president comes out and declares to all Lebanese that he is weak and powerless.
Despite all allegations directed towards former president Emile Lahoud, but all suspicions and corruption that surrounded does not come close to what the current president and his party have managed. This level of corruption has never been seen in Lebanon during the reign of any presidency ever since its inception 100 years ago.