I know this has happened a few months back but I was contemplating on the status of the Lebanese presidency and its impending crisis, following president Emil Lahoud stepping down back in November (http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/meast/11/23/lebanon.army/index.html)
As you may recall, Lahoud had declared a state of emergency and ordered the military to take over hours before his terms end. Lahoud declared a state of emergency although he knows that according to the constitution the president does not have the authority to declare a state of emergency without obtaining the approval of the government, which is entitled to take over as soon as the presidential office becomes vacant. Many believe Lahoud’s statement was a message meant to convey the seriousness of the situation. Sadly, the Lebanese Government, in addition to the army and most other foreign governments considered Lahoud’s final statement illegitimate, and deemed it useless.
Lebanon, a parliamentary demoncratic republic, implements a special system known as confessionalism which is meant to insure that sectarian conflict is kept at bay. Confessionalism is an attempt to fairly represent the demographic distribution of religious sects in the governing body. As a result, Lebanese high-ranking offices are reserved for followers of specific religious groups.
Under this system, the President is a maronite Catholic Christian, while the Prime Minister is to be a Sunni Muslim, the Speaker of the Parliament a Shi’a Muslim and an Orthodox Christian for the post of Deputy Prime Minister.
The well-known Egyptian writer Anis Mansour proposed a solution to this dilemma a few months ago, which I find very amusing and worthy of consideration. He proposed that since the Lebanese can not agree on one president whom they all deem worthy of their leadership and trust, then the best candidate is their beloved Fayrouz. Anis argues that Fayrouz is loved by all and one can not think of a single Lebanese, religious or political, group who might object to her taking on the presidency.
The only problem, announced Anis, is the fact that Fayrouz is not a Maronite Catholic!!!!!