The best efforts of European foreign ministers have failed to break the political deadlock in Lebanon. France’s Bernard Kouchner has been trying to resolve the impasse over the Presidency, but without success. The current head of state Emile Lahoud’s term ends tomorrow, and rival pro- and anti-Syrian politicians cannot agree on his successor.
Analyst Paul Salem says the Lebanese Presidency is an impossible task: “If the two camps, who have contradictory policies, if they agree on a candidate, he would be, it might be appropriate to call him a schizophrenic candidate, who represents two contradictory policies. The role for such a President will be to preside over the contradiction, and to prevent Lebanon from declining into a civil war.”
Parliament has repeatedly failed to find a consensus candidate for President. Another vote was scheduled for tomorrow, but is now unlikely to take place. Lahoud won’t allocate all powers to the government, but may hand over to the army, the only body seemingly trusted by all sides.
It was Independence Day today. But with foreign powers involved in the Presidential standoff, some wonder if Lebanon will ever be truly independent.