Elections, Lebanon

A Respectable Election

soapboxA couple of recent op-eds by Arab journalists in large Western newspapers ask America not to interfere in the upcoming Lebanese election. Omayma Abdel-Latif, writing in The New York Times, asks Obama to “stay out of our elections”, arguing that his administration’s decision to send Vice President Joe Biden for a morale-boosting visit last week was “a huge blunder”.

Meanwhile, Roula Khalaf writes in FT that “it would be a mistake to punish voters for making what the US considered to be wrong choice,” adding that America should not give the opposition an excuse — if it wins — “to blame its failings in government on someone else.”

I have no quibble with the simple request that outsiders respect the political choices of Lebanese voters, but I’d also like to humbly request that any Lebanese voters among the readership respect their own political choices by knowing something about the parties they are voting for, and what these parties are promising to enact in the way of legislation and reform.

Fortunately, most of the major parties have electoral platforms, which you can access here: Free Patriotic Movement | Future Movement (parts one and two, in pdf) | Hizbullah | Kata’eb | Lebanese Forces (pdf) | (feel free to direct me to others that I may have missed, and I’ll add them).

Four years from now, if your party has done absolutely nothing but is asking for your vote again —  in exchange for a Third Independence or a Fourth Republic — don’t complain about how awful our politicians are.  You, after all, are voting for them.
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6 thoughts on “A Respectable Election

  1. And you? Are you voting for Martians?

    Posted by bech | June 3, 2009, 5:37 pm
  2. Thanks for the link on party programs. I was looking for that.

    Posted by bech | June 3, 2009, 5:38 pm
  3. Do you really think political parties are going to stick to their electoral programs?
    I personally will be voting a white paper, that is I am not against the system, but against all the candidates.

    Posted by Rami | June 3, 2009, 5:40 pm
  4. You might want to add the electoral program of this party, which seems more and more popular for those who feel they’re not being represented by anyone else.

    Posted by sean | June 3, 2009, 5:54 pm
  5. There is no such thing as not voting even if you don’t vote. Let me explain. In Israel not voting means voting for the religious parties. Why? Because almost 100% of their supporters vote for them and sometimes even those recently deceased (with the beard and the hat they all look alike in the picture and fraud is common). So by not voting, you are letting the weight of certain minorities be higher than it should be. I always advise my friends that decide not to vote to just randomly pick a secular party and vote for it.

    There will never be an ideal party. But you have to hold your nose and vote for the least bad for you. Otherwise, democracy gets distorted and the results are even worse.

    As Churchill said, democracy is the worst system, except for all the others. I wish you all a safe and fair election.

    Posted by AIG | June 3, 2009, 6:20 pm
  6. Obama’s speech is in 2 hours, and I’m staying up till 2 am to watch it. Somehow, people at Al Jazeera English are saying the administration of Obama may not benefit if the US sees a US President open to Muslim nations.

    referring to AIG 🙂 – I heard a guy once said “Down with democracy, when we get it!”

    Posted by Jester theFool | June 4, 2009, 10:09 am

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