The arguments for a united opposition


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The problem is that not all non-sectarian groups have much to rely on. Some lack visibility, especially outside of cities, and clash with traditional sectarian parties with clear hierarchies, supported by cohesive patron-client relationships for decades. Others have been active for longer, but remain on the fringes of the Lebanese political scene.

The National Bloc, for example, is a secular social-liberal party formed in the 1940s by former Lebanese President Emile Edde. It was one of the main political forces in Lebanon in the late 1940s and 1950s. However, the party did not participate in the civil war and also refused to adhere to the Taif Accord, losing some. land for the benefit of sectarian factions that have come to power. In February 2019, he relaunched with a progressive agenda. The overall political program of the National Bloc emphasizes the way out of the economic crisis: limit the budget deficit to 4% in 3 years, reduce the electricity deficit to zero in 2 years and rationalize the public sector employment policy; he wants to reshuffle and enumerate the losses of the “Bank of Lebanon”, refocus his attention on its main mission of maintaining monetary stability and the financial soundness of the banking sector, and gradually adopt a floating exchange rate; He also wants to reform the banking sector by encouraging consolidation, protecting small depositors and ensuring that the financial needs of citizens and the economy are met.

“The priorities right now are creating social safety nets and stimulating the economy,” Rim Haidar, political analyst at the National Bloc, told NOW.

Another secular group, Beirut Medina, has the experience of the municipal elections of 2016. The movement started in 2015-2016 you stink protests – sparked by a garbage crisis in the capital Beirut in addition to power cuts and lack of infrastructure – and he ran with independent lists in the 2016 municipal elections, when he managed to win one of Beirut’s three districts, but lost to the list supported by sectarian factions. Its list ran in 2016 on a 10-point program advancing policies on mobility, public spaces, housing, waste management, community services, the environment, health and municipal governance.

Minteshreen, however, is new to the political scene. The group born from the 2019 protests launched his website last week, where he released a detailed policy agenda focused on economic recovery, sustainable environmental policies, as well as energy policies based on scrapping obsolete and expensive equipment and practices. In terms of foreign policy, Minteshreen favors sovereignty by establishing a civil state and a defense policy based on the strengthening of the Lebanese army. The new group has an executive board of four members as well as a steering committee made up of the chairmen of several specialized committees dealing with trade unions, the environment, communications, social policy, recruitment, external relations, etc. civil rights, as well as youth.

For Samer Makarem, Minteshreen executive board member and party session secretary, the upcoming electoral battle is about building a well-functioning state and redefining what it means to be a citizen and the rights and responsibilities that come with it.

Two other movements new to the political scene, Kulluna Irada, an advocacy group for political reform, and Nahwal Watan, an organization for political change, announced on October 28 that they are therefore joining forces to create a platform. united for political transformation in Lebanon. . The newly elected board of directors representing the two organizations equally, elected Albert Kostanian, strategy expert and political journalist, as president of the alliance.

However, Nahwal Watan announced on November 2 that she was ending the merger with Kulluna Irada due to “disagreements over strategy”.

The Kataeb party joined the revolutionary groups in their opposition to the current political class after completely resigning from the government in 2016 and from the Parliament in 2020. The Christian party has partnered with 8 opposition groups – Taqaddom, Rebels, Haraket Al Estiklal, Khat Ahmar, Liqaa Teshreen, Nabed Al Janoub Al Montafed, Etihad Thouwar Alshamal and Third Republic – and have set up an opposition front, announced on April 15.

They focused on the country’s sovereignty, one of its main priorities being disarming Hezbollah and building a neutral Lebanese state with an emphasis on the Lebanese army as the sole defense institution.

Mark Daou, a member of the Taqqadom movement, told NOW that the front is prioritizing three major issues, holding corrupt politicians to account, state sovereignty and constitutional work.

“We believe the people want a strong opposition front that shows them that change is possible. We are trying to reach several groups who share the same vision in order to put in place an appropriate political program, ”he said.

Daou also explained that Taqaddom was aware of Kataeb’s past as a civil war militia and sectarian party. He said the old party had gained their trust as it was no longer a major political player and participated in many civil society movements.

“We don’t base ourselves on what people think of them. As long as we get along politically and share the same principles, there is no problem, ”Daou said.


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