Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Lebanon finally gets a president

Yalibnan, Tuesday, 1 April, 2008

"Khalass, infarajet" (That's it, it's over) said a leaflet inserted in many dailies, jokingly referring to the standoff between the Western-backed government and the Hezbollah-led opposition backed by Syria and Iran.

Lebanese newspapers on Tuesday offered their readers a brief moment of wishful thinking with an April Fool message that the protracted political crisis was over and a new president had been elected.

"After the Arab summit, Arab League head Amr Mussa arrived in Lebanon and met with the political parties," the leaflet said, referring to the weekend Arab League summit in Damascus.
"Lawmakers then immediately headed to parliament... and elected a president."

The leaflet added that political leaders who were sworn enemies then warmly embraced and held a cocktail party to celebrate the successful election.

Youmna Fawaz, from the group Khalass (Enough) which published the leaflet, said its aim was to show how ridiculous Lebanon's political situation had become.

"We're at a point where the election of a president -- a normal event in any country -- has become a dream," she said. "The Lebanese now need a lie to give them hope."
The country has been without a president since November, when pro-Syrian Emile Lahoud stepped down at the end of his mandate.

Seventeen attempts to elect a successor have failed and a new session of parliament is now scheduled for April 22. Lebanese presidents are elected by MPs rather than by popular vote.

"All of this took place on April 1... as if all of the other days were not already a joke," the leaflet said. (Yalibnan)


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