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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 December 2007, 13:23 GMT
Lebanese elections: views from Beirut
Lebanese citizens from different religious and political affiliations reflect on their politicians' failure so far to agree on a new presidential candidate.


Charbel Abi Saad

I think the main obstacle to agreeing on a new president is the external interference.

The Lebanese are not agreed on what they want to achieve - and even if we do find a compromise candidate, there will be many challenges ahead.

If we don't find a candidate, it will just be postponing the problems and tensions will escalate. However, I don't think there will be a war.

I don't belong to a political party, but I find myself closer to the [anti-Syrian] 14th March political grouping than any other.

I travel a lot in my work. I'd like to stay in Lebanon, but with the current financial situation, I'm finding more opportunities elsewhere.

I don't feel the current situation is stable. We just hope for the best.


I used to watch the news every day and follow every political speech and development, but I stopped because I don't have any faith in our politicians.

I only read the headlines now - because I know that nothing will happen, and they will always find something to disagree about.

Even if they agree on a president, they will find something else to disagree on.

I find I side with the opposition more than the government, even if I disagree with a lot of their points.

I still find them more honest than the others. I think they are doing their best not to let the country fall, but with no success.

I wish they would let the people choose their own president, without any intermediaries.


If you want someone everyone can agree on - that's going to be difficult. They're trying to please a lot of people - including foreign players - apart from the actual citizens of Lebanon, who just want someone who can get the country going again.

It seems they would rather get an elderly, prominent old-school politician, who will not upset anyone, than someone who can lead the country forward.

Creating a fear of war is part of the political agenda

The sad part is that they've already driven out a lot of young, professional Lebanese. This brain drain is unprecedented.

This week everyone's saying: "Keep your head down." You know there's a history of random bombings, you can't help but worry.

If they don't find a president, I don't think there will be a war. There isn't the political will for one. Creating a fear of war is part of the agenda, though.

I think it's important people pay attention to what's happening here, because it's a microcosm of what's happening in the entire Middle East.

The kind of tolerance and religious co-existence here is a model for the rest of the region. If the West wants such a model to prevail, they should support us - and also know when to step back and let us make our own decisions.

I have made a conscious decision to stay in this country. I would like to think that as of Friday, we will have a president.


I don't feel properly represented by our politicians - I think they are selfish.

I am more drawn to the western-leaning [government] side - but I lived in the States for 17 years which probably has something to do with that.

I returned to Lebanon in 2000 - and you bet, I'm staying. Call it love, craziness or stupidity - I feel it's part of my duty to stay, although there's a big brain drain going on.

I don't think there's going to be agreement on a president, although I hope I will be proved wrong.

If they don't find a president, I see two options ahead: either there will be two rival governments, or President Lahoud will appoint a transitional, military cabinet.

We've got Syria and Iran supporting one side and the West supporting the other. We are the small puppet in the middle.

If they do select someone, it will be a crisis manager, not someone with any long term solutions.

This way of appointing a president by the politicians is not democracy.

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