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Reflexions on the political and
socio economic Lebanese news.
19 February, 2010.
The election by the proportional rule is not democracy.
It gives Mafiosi leaders the power to share authority and money of the Lebanese State.
I - The realities of Lebanese mentality:
In Lebanon, democracy is false and special. Most Lebanese prefer their religious cultures before the State laws. There are political parties led by the religious clergy among Muslims. And most political parties that do not depend directly from religious clergy power are still linked with a religion. In effect, each party leader can rarely recruit supporters outside his religion. Some Muslims believe they can dominate Lebanese Christians by committing to the policy of some racial and religious dictators of the Arab and Muslim Middle East countries. They beg to Syria and Iran with weapons and money to achieve these ambitions. Christians take refuge in their communities and do not trust the pro-Syrian Muslims. In this atmosphere, the concept of State has no value. The Lebanese Nation disappears in people's minds. The division is vertical between Independence’s Christians and pro-Syrian Muslims.
Thus, the democracy evolution in Lebanon is paralyzed by groups more or less extremist, racist and sectarian, especially since they are reinforced by armed militias.
To select modern non-religious political Programs and moderate political personalities in a democratic manner, we must minimize the effects of extremist groups. We should also prohibit the religious clergies to do politics. This is unfortunately not the case, now, in Lebanon.
We recall that the presence of armed militias on Lebanese soil is the major obstacle to any real democracy. The purchase of voters with money is another real problem. But this is not the subject of this text. So we make this theoretical synthesis supposing there are no armed militias or money influencing the democratic choices.
Elections by proportional representation in Lebanon are proposed to strengthen the power of each clan or mafia head. In fact, they want to create lists of candidates. Each clan leader will choice his candidates list, most likely with paying the places by the list members. Thereafter, all members of each list will feel indebted to the leader. They are not free in opinions. They strengthen their chieftain power. Members of a list does not represent the people with loyalty and sincerity. They support their leader instead of thinking about the interests of their constituents.
The proportional election could represent correctly the different groups in society in an assembly, but it does not ensure the creation of a moderate majority to be able to govern. The Lebanese are divided into small groups or clans. An assembly elected by proportional representation will be paralyzed. Small irreconcilable extremist groups will fight among themselves, instead of finding a centrist and moderate majority group. The gravity of this situation is that the Lebanese armed extremists do not respect the law, neither judges nor the army nor the will of the majority if there is one. We are not in a State of Law. Nobody believes in the just authority of the State. In addition, neighboring countries have an interest in dividing the Lebanese to annex parts or all of Lebanon. They regularly interfere in Lebanese affairs. The misrepresentation of the people by proportional rule is not democratic. True democracy must create a fair majority to govern the people.
The purpose of fair elections is not met by putting clans’ representatives in an assembly where they can enjoy some of the taxpayers' money. The proportional rule will grow each clan to claim a slice of the State. It opens the door to blackmail and bargaining between clans’ heads.
Most Lebanese are wary from politicians from other religions. In this atmosphere, the lists of election by proportional representation may be sectarian. Instead of having programs of secular reforms, that serves all citizens of all beliefs and non-beliefs, choices will be wrong in the handling of religious mistrust between voters and candidates.
But the worst drawbacks of proportional elections is to maintain the power of mafia leaders, and feudal clans, whatever they are the numbers of their supporters and voters. Indeed, it is the rich feudal lord, who have often inherited its family power, to create the candidates list with putting himself at the head of the list. He ranks the names of candidates on his list. He is accustomed to bargain places. Whatever happens, the first names of the lists will be elected. There is therefore a deprivation of freedom of choice of candidates by voters. If a worthy but poor candidate wishes to act in politics, he cannot be elected if he does not rank behind a clan leader to serve him. The heads of mafias confiscate the powers. That's why you'll see that most feudal politicians, and clan leaders, prefer proportional representation in the local and national elections ! That is how they secure a share of power, whatsoever are the election results.
II - The LSTDO position is with majority voting:
We recall in the preamble that we are talking about a Lebanese people philosophically and psychologically ill because of conflicting religious indoctrination and the legacy of racial wars in the Middle East. True democracy can be established with a constitution that protects the rights of all communities that are the consequences of the history of the Middle East, including the rights of the Jewish people. You cannot pretend to respect the rights of Christians in Lebanon, when you say you want suppress the State of Israel. All peoples have the right to exist. It is no use crying crimes of "the enemy". We want fair solutions for all peoples.
Remember also that you cannot have a true democracy if citizens do not feel free of opinions and are in security for their lives, for their work, their property and their families. For this, they expect to see a secular, democratic, just, independent and strong State, capable of protecting all citizens. This situation does not exist currently in Lebanon.
I am pessimistic, but I hope to help guide young Lebanese in the hope of a gradual correction of these defects.
In a situation of free election without racial, or religious, or money manipulation, or military threats, it is the selection of political candidates directly by voters, which can ensure the birth of true democracy in Lebanon. Each citizen must choose a candidate based on his personality and his reform program without any sectarian or religious discrimination. The candidate will be accountable to the citizens and not to a clan leader or mafia chieftain. These goals are possible in a majority system where candidates are chosen by decreasing number of their voters.
In a majority vote, a clan leader is a single candidate. He cannot dominate the will of others. No foreign interference can change the politics of Lebanon. Indeed, in the Lebanese parliament, there will be 128 independent deputies. Everyone thinks freely on each project. It's the same in local elections. Corruption by money or threats will be ineffective.
When there are more candidates than the number of political posts to be filled, the majority voting in two or three rounds permit to choose the highest ranked candidates. Democratic rule must be respected as if we respect the outcome of sports games. Winners must govern. When there is only one vacancy, several ballots may lead necessarily to choose the best candidate in assembling at the final selection a majority behind him. The highest ranked candidate is necessarily more human and supportive of projects that benefit to all Lebanese.
The abolition of the religious balance between Christians and Muslims is impossible in Lebanon today. Indeed, some Lebanese Muslims are indoctrinated to bind the Lebanese State to dictatorships of some Arab-Muslim Middle East countries. They represent a danger to other Lebanese, especially since they are armed and financed by foreign interference and may make coups. A unified and democratic Lebanon can only survive by creating a trust relationship between Christians and Muslims in modern culture, conscious of Lebanon independence and the separation of State from any religious or racial institution. Most Lebanese are believers, but the solution is to live in a secular state that respects freedom of belief. The removal of mistrust between Muslims and Christians impose constitutional sharing of public positions of the Lebanese State by half for Muslims and half for Christians. This is not to spend the confessional. The sole purpose is to remove the distrust between the two major religious cultures in the country. Candidates for public office should be selected according to their skills through transparent competitions without any interference by political or religious clans.
As for public political positions, we believe that the majority ballots facilitate the establishment of local religions-balanced political assemblies. For example, for an assembly of six political posts, we can nominate the three first Christian candidates among Christians and the three first Muslim candidates among Muslims. This is the price that trust can save the country's unity. The religious mistrust existed for two thousand years and not a dictation by a dictator, can change this reality. A politician must work in a secular spirit to serve all citizens without any discrimination.
The religious equilibrium may be unnecessary in local elections when a village or neighborhood of a city's population is overwhelmingly of one religion. A threshold percentage can be chosen beyond which the rule of the religious balance will be applied. For example, if the Christian minority in a neighborhood of Beirut exceeds 25% of the population, the rule of the balance between Christians and Muslims must be applied.
In big cities, neighborhood divisions are necessary for municipalities to be close to the citizens and to have a human face. Rules of cooperation should be established between municipalities in the same town or between neighboring villages. Thus, local politicians will be evaluated regularly by the voters. We will avoid the hegemony of certain feudal families and some local Mafiosi.
The proportional votes give seats in the assemblies to minority holders bearing extremist ideas. The majority votes favor moderate ideas, as the candidate will have to muster a majority behind his political project to win.
In total, the majority electoral system allows:
- To remove foreign interference in Lebanese internal affairs, since the politician is accountable only to his constituents and the Lebanese judiciary,
- To remove the influence of feudal leaders, rich mafias, and religious clans leaders, as the political candidate speaks directly to citizens without licking the boots of these feudal,
- To permit to compete for local and national clean personalities to be politicians, democratic and free from any influence by money or threats. Indeed, assassinations and threats will not change the political orientation of the majority of Lebanese people, because the politician is elected directly by the people for short time,
- To choose political representatives accountable only to voters,
- To facilitate the establishment of local and national assemblies, religiously balanced to remove any suspicion or religious manipulation. Elected officials can rule on the base of coherent majority without religious label.
proportional votes give seats in the assemblies to minority holders bearing
extremist ideas. The majority votes favor moderate ideas, as the candidate will
have to muster a majority behind his political project to win.
Yes, we want a democratic and peaceful Lebanon of ancient Phoenicia. We do not want our children to be massacred for backward stupid ideas from some obscure religious chieftain, hungry for power.
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The election by the proportional rule is not democracy. It gives Mafiosi leaders the power to share authority and money of the Lebanese State.