“All of them means all of them” is the popular Lebanese slogan which is still repeated after the resignation of prime minister Saad Hariri. The country is exhausted of sectarian ruling, and here, all of them means all the sectarian leaders. A very different image of Lebanon that everyone sees has been exemplified to the world during protests over the last few days. The previous French colony with almost 18 sects has never been so united in this way. No matter the religion or sect, everyone is Lebanese and everyone is suffering from the very same economic pressure and high-level political corruption divided among three major religions.
All the agreements passed to create a balance among different sects of the country created a large breach that allowed politicians to make their own connections, engulfing the state in deep corruption. Lebanon, as one of the almost safe islands in the shaken Middle East, is now fragile. The prime minister has resigned and is not hidden from anyone; now, the challenge will be the creation of a new government from scratch, again.
The protests had very different images compared to other Middle Eastern uprisings; characterized by children joining their parents in the protests and people dancing with slogans that make you smile. The reality is the crack in the Lebanese society, a society that has witnessed a civil war ended only 30 years ago, resulted in the weak government as outcome of the division of power among different sects. The society is not homogenous as it seems in the protests, in fact, these protests might open old wounds, especially when Hezbullah forces have already started clashing with protestors.
The fact that the protestors lack a clear leader, and the list to be released by parliament for the upcoming election is full of the same sects, makes the situation highly complicated.
The resignation of Hariri took the attention and responsibility away from him and focused it on other players (which can be a political asset for Hariri in the future). Considering that forming a government in Lebanon is a long process, this process can increase the restlessness along with the chaos that is on-going in public service sectors, effecting banks all the way to the basic needs of citizens. Therefore, how long the protestors continue putting pressure on the government is not clear, especially when Hizbullah and Amal party are confronting them.
Surely, the removal of the sects from the current governmental system seems out of question and not feasible at the very moment, as it requires a political and legal process which might arrive in the change of the constitution. In the meantime, a government of technocrats might be a short-term solution to bring some solutions to the requests of the protestors. However, this technocrat government would not be free from sectarian divisions, which raises the question of how much this government can fight with the corruption, which is the very base request of the protestors.
(You can read the last article by Ghazal Poorhasan here)