Next week will mark the first anniversary of Lebanese President Michel Aoun’s presidential tenure.
Aoun was elected at the end of October 2016 as a result of a political settlement that also included Saad al-Hariri, who was appointed as the head of the “government of restoring confidence”.
The era that began two and a half years after a presidential vacuum has somehow succeeded in reactivating state institutions, without addressing the Lebanese system, which is characterized by corruption and political and sectarian sharing.
However, local disagreements have started lately to emerge in light of the government’s internal and foreign policies, including a dispute between the president of the Free Patriotic Movement, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil on one side, and the Future Movement and the Lebanese Forces party on the other, due to Bassil’s recent visit to Damascus where he met with his Syrian counterpart Walid al-Muallem.
Senior Researcher at Information International Mohammed Shamseddine said that the main feature of this presidential term was the re-launching of the work of institutions and the implementation of some “incomplete” achievements, at a time when some issues still needed to be addressed, mainly corruption.
In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, Shamseddine said: “It was remarkable from the beginning and as a result of political understandings, the rapid formation of the government, 46 days after the appointment of Saad al-Hariri, while the government of the former Prime Minister Tamam Salam took 315 days to be completed and the government of Najib Miqati took 140 days.”
“Since its formation, Hariri’s cabinet held 42 meetings, in which it approved 1620 decrees, while meetings of previous governments were often disrupted by political differences,” he added.
Other achievements, according to Shamseddine, include the adoption of the State Budget, diplomatic and judicial appointments and the victory achieved by the Lebanese Army over terrorist groups in the outskirts of Arsal.
Former Minister and prominent member of the Phalanges Patry Salim Sayegh said that achievements claimed by the FPM under Aoun’s tenure were nothing but “presumptions”, accusing the current authority of “establishing national deception and paving the way for the country to be handed over to Hezbollah.”
FPM MP Alain Aoun, for his part, did not deny that these “achievements” were not always complete due to the Lebanese reality, but refused to belittle their importance, accusing some people of spreading negative slogans.
“We don’t have a magic wand and the change will come successively,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat.