Lebanese political leaders on Thursday (June 22nd) affirmed their intention to reactivate the work of state institutions and push the wheels of development forward.
They vowed to continue the implementation of the National Reconciliation Accord (Taif Agreement) that brought an end to the Lebanese war in 1989 and gave shape to the new constitution.
At a meeting convened by President Michel Aoun at the presidential palace in Baabda, leaders of the political parties represented in the government discussed a plan for executive and legislative work over the coming months.
A working paper issued at the end of the meeting stressed the need to maintain Lebanon’s pluralistic system and to move towards administrative decentralisation as soon as possible.
The paper called for the launch of a comprehensive economic plan that will improve infrastructure in a country that is hosting over one million refugees, as well as strengthen the telecommunications sector.
It also stated the need for reform in state institutions, the judiciary, the media and the education sector.
Aoun called for the meeting following the passage of the new parliamentary electoral law.
On June 16th, Lebanon’s Parliament approved the country’s first proportional vote law with an overwhelming majority, putting the country on the road to holding the first legislative elections in nine years.
The new law extended parliament's term by almost a year until next May, thus avoiding a legislative vacuum.
Dialogue addresses chronic issues
The Baabda meeting "was different from various dialogues that were held in parliament or at the presidential palace", political analyst Ibrahim Bayram of Annahar newspaper told Al-Mashareq.
It comes after the passage of the "long-awaited electoral law", he said, and aims to strengthen the president's political presence and authority.
"The dialogue addressed chronic and unresolved issues that the political forces represented in government will work to revive," he said.
This move will yield positive results, he said, as it involves bringing together all elite political parties to work side by side on outstanding issues "under comfortable political conditions characterised by calm and stability".
Roadmap for next phase
The meeting was held "to draw a roadmap for work to be undertaken in the next phase to restore the citizens’ confidence in the political administration", journalist Marilyn Wehbe told Al-Mashareq.
It helped break the political ice between some of the political parties, which will in turn enhance the atmosphere and the security situation that Lebanon now enjoys despite the turmoil raging in the surrounding region, she said.
"The meeting set broad outlines for future developmental, economic and social projects that are of interest to citizens," Wehbe said. "This will provide impetus for the government and parliament to work to produce results."