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My Statement concerning General Aoun’s call for “Direct Presidential Elections”

My Statement concerning General Aoun’s call for “Direct Presidential Elections”

I have received many messages and comments by friends telling me that General Michel Aoun has “adopted my idea” of direct suffrage verbatim in a press conference two days ago. Indeed, in a statement this past Monday, Aoun vouched for direct Presidential Elections by the people and uncannily described exactly what I had written a few days ago: that there should be elections over two rounds with “qualifications” conducted by Christian voters in the first round, and national elections by all voters in the second round. Aoun said it word for word, and it is the first time he has ever pronounced it.

This is great news. Whether he was inspired by my idea (which I have been talking about since Feb 15 2014, and wrote 4 articles about since) or whether it is truly coincidental, it doesn’t matter, the important part is that the idea of direct suffrage is being discussed. That is the true essential part. We need to make this change not only a possibility, but our only viability.

I will proceed with my plan. As promised in my last article, I am preparing the petition asking for direct presidential elections, and I am preparing the constitutional amendments along with key figures and policymakers to make this direct suffrage a Lebanese reality in a tight case. No more falling prey to political futilities “طق حنك سياسي”; we, the capable people, will effectively start doing the work. If the Aounists will join their voices to those of us who are secular, nationalistic and truly forward-looking, if the Aounists will put their names down next to those of us who preach development and political integrity in the name of people empowerment, then that is a gift for the country. The more people join their names to us, the faster we will be marching towards first-worldom.

I ask you please to stay tuned with support and enthusiasm.

For those who have not read my last article where I describe the idea of two-round-qualification that Aoun recently called for, kindly read it here.

Written by Sara El-Yafi

28 Comments

  1. Racha Badran · July 2, 2014

    Yalla go for it! Inspired eh???

  2. Rami Salame · July 2, 2014

    Way to go Sara El-Yafi!
    And please ignore all traditional non-sense comments..

  3. Ahmed Allam · July 2, 2014

    Come to Cairo when you are done with Lebanon. We need some of that too.

  4. Malek Fares · July 2, 2014

    I heard Aoun say that on TV yesterday and I shouted in my living room, “he stole Sara El-Yafi’s idea!!!!” Good job Sara. Waiting for the petition!

  5. Ghias El Yafi · July 2, 2014

    You should complain of plagiarism!

  6. Mohamad Abdul-Hamid Ajam · July 2, 2014

    And Al Gore invented the Internet!

  7. Jihad Krayem · July 2, 2014

    Excellent statement

  8. Samer El Sadek · July 2, 2014

    It’s 2014..Why do Christians go alone in the 1st round and everyone else in the following.Is one better than the other? The core of the religious discrimination which remains to rip Lebanon apart for ages to come and I say this with all respect to all religions and in pain with every visit to Beirut because you’re all one. Shouldn’t you all vote together? The leader is Christian, respect to that. Just please find a way to stop categorizing your public. Many of us want to see the Lebanon which our great grandparents used to say was the heartbeat of culture, not racism.

    • Sara El-Yafi · July 2, 2014

      Samer, you speak the truth. You are very right, and I agree with you. The issue is tempo. This country is ridden with fear, fear of the “others”, fear that trickles down on the public due to the failed leadership who thrive on people’s fears. Even those who consider themselves secular and “open” are caught saying things like “the Christians so and so” and the “Shiites so and so”… The only way to change this “sectarian mindset” is by changing the leadership, however, to change the leadership, the current leadership needs to acquiesce to the change, albeit indirectly, and the only way to get them to acquiesce is if we use their terminologies. The phase you described above is the phase that comes after the one I described. We want the people to jump and cross over to a new boat, but they believe they will break themselves if they jump because they don’t have trust that the boat is sturdy enough, so we need to give them a safety net. The safety net is the belief that the “minorities” will go unharmed. Get the new system going, GET NEW LEADERSHIP that resounds with nationalism and effectiveness, and believe me, time alone will secularize our country.

      • Noora Husseini · July 2, 2014

        Sara I agree with Samer but I see your point. I’m conflicted because you are trying to reform the system but trying to appease to the sectarians at the same time- this is really tricky but I’m hoping you will be successful. I hope Lebanon, like the rest of the Middle East, secularizes fast enough. That’s my only concern.

      • Samer El Sadek · July 2, 2014

        Sara, you have proven your influence through your writing multiple times. I wish I would read something from you on a call to unity and a reminder to the people, the new blood, that it would be their fault and not any neighbour with their ideologies about Lebanon if the people don’t cross that bridge together. Today the president has adopted a method you’ve started. Tomorrow, who knows?

      • Walid Madhoun · July 2, 2014

        I agree with Samer. Sara courage is needed here otherwise we feed the fear – there should be no compromise on this issue 1 Lebanese 1 vote, equal vote if anything else than that then dissolve the republic and give those that wish to separate what they want: small enclaves of religious groups, Maronites here, Shiite there, Sunni elsewhere etcetcetc …

        • Sara El-Yafi · July 4, 2014

          Noora, Samer and Walid. Thank you for your great comments, and Samer thanks for the kind words. I completely understand what you all are saying, and I too feel disappointed that in our day and age, the sectarians’ voices are louder than ours. But I will try to explain my point of view in a different way, and maybe it will make sense (and if not please express your thoughts): There is a dire challenge in our country which is fear, every community fears that the other community will take over at their expense, and thus, they fear losing their identity/self-worth/cultural weight in the face of “others”. The current status quo, the Taef status quo, upholds a mock-balance at the expense of productivity; no community is fully dominant but we are unable to advance because of the stalemate created. Change needs to happen. I think up to here, we all agree. But when we propose a change of status quo, there will be resistance on behalf of those who feel they will “lose” in the process of change (fear!). Human beings, in general, don’t resist change, they resist LOSS. In the face of the Middle Eastern surge of Islamic jihad insanity, the persecution of Christian minorities in almost every Muslim country, and the now recent Islamic jihad called against Lebanon’s Christians, we cannot blame the Lebanese Christians for fearing the “Muslims”, many of whom are extremist in their view of nationalism. The last vestige of Middle Eastern Christendom rests in Mount Lebanon, in the hands of ~1 million Christian Lebanese who believe that survival hinges on maintaining Christian superiority everywhere in Lebanon (hence the refusal to conduct a census because stats will show that they have significantly decreased in number, and maybe they shouldn’t be allowed power of presidency anymore). Fear. Thus, they will resist this change towards direct suffrage if their rights are not “guaranteed”, because they will be afraid of losing the power. It is all DELUSIONAL because today they don’t have the power anyway, so the step up towards direct suffrage is a step up for them for sure, but they won’t see it that way. What we need to do, as the secular, forward looking people, is to speak their language, hold their hand and say to them “Your fears are understood, but they are stopping the nation’s advancement. Here is a safety net, please take a step forward with us.” Thus, the idea (which is only an idea) of them going first in the electoral rounds to elect a shortlist of 4-5 people (not two, like Aoun said!) provides this safety net. BUT! and this is a very important part, since the Christians get the upper hand in electoral priority by going solo the first round, we will open up the candidacy to ALL RELIGIONS. The candidates who shall be running for presidency will not only be Maronite, they would come from all religions. See where I am going with this? Secularism will be on its way.

          PS: I also have an idea for how to elect the Prime Minister and Speaker of Parliament. I will cover that soon enough.

  9. Molly Stacey · July 2, 2014

    Amazing work. Imitation is the best form of flattery. Thank God it’s a positive step.

  10. Fouad Madhoun · July 2, 2014

    Agreed…

  11. Karine Doummar Ghosn · July 2, 2014

    U can count on me to spread the news…

  12. Issam Rawda · July 2, 2014

    للوصول الى نقطة الامان وعدم الخوف من الاخر ، مرحلة تتطلب وعي سياسي واجتماعي ومن الجميع المشاركة والالتزام برؤية مستقبليه تحدد الاسس المشتركة التي يجب ان تكون مجردة من المصالح الطائفية الضيقة، رؤية تشمل بناء المواطنية الحقيقية وتعزيز مبدأ الولاء الى الوطن. هذه المرحلة اذا ابتدأت غداً قد لا تشهد أيامنا

  13. Samir Manasfi · July 2, 2014

    Is it the president of Christians or the president of Lebanon? I think that every Lebanese, (Muslim or Christian), shall have the right to participate to the 1st round.

  14. Nadim Haddad · July 2, 2014

    Oh noooo! He poisoned it!

  15. Zeid Tawil · July 2, 2014

    That is great to see…keep up the good work 🙂

  16. Yara Abi Farhat Samaha · July 2, 2014

    100% with you

  17. Walid Dernaika · July 2, 2014

    It is a very bad timing. Muslins will claim for a census and will erupt a new civil war. According to Annahar Christians represent less than 25% of the Lebanese population

  18. Maher Fares · July 2, 2014

    He adopted the idea all along. He just launched it officially for others to accept or reject.

  19. Sam Wahab · July 2, 2014

    Bullshit. He ripped off your idea. The people who matter know. And the people who don’t know don’t matter. Until they know. And word will get out. Well done.

  20. Amer El Rassas · July 2, 2014

    my problem with this proposal is the sectarian based election for the first round. other than this I am for it.

  21. Adam Bradley · July 2, 2014

    I see that my prediction of you changing the world is starting to come to fruition. I enjoy being right 🙂

  22. Jad Krayem · July 2, 2014

    Sara El-Yafi: The voice!!!

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