By RANNIE AMIRI
".....Despite the constitutional requirement that authority be handed over to the prime minister should the presidency be vacated, Lahoud refused, stating that Siniora's administration was "illegitimate and unconstitutional. They know that, even if Bush said otherwise."......
More surprising than the present deadlock is the fact it has not come sooner, for the confessional nature upon which the Lebanese political system is based lends itself to do just that.....
Remarkably, there has been no official census in Lebanon since 1932.
By current estimates however, the largest plurality of all the confessional groups are the Shia Muslims. Although the post of Speaker is not an insignificant one, it is felt they have never been accorded "a fair shake" by the government in proportion to their numbers, hence the huge popularity of groups like Hezbollah among them.
It was Hezbollah after all who paid for homes in southern Lebanon and the southern suburbs of Beirut to be rebuilt after last year's war with Israel. Yes, this has done with the help of Iranian money. Nonetheless, is it not telling that a non-Arab country did more to assist the largest section of the population than did the government or other Arab countries? Are the Lebanese Shia actually supposed to trust a government which called upon Hezbollah to disarm while their towns, villages and cities were being decimated by the Israelis? Can any Lebanese have confidence in a Prime Minister who hugged and kissed Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice in spite of her refusal to call for a ceasefire?
A consensus candidate in the current standoff in Lebanon is needed, no doubt. But it is also high time a new census is taken, and let numbers speak for themselves."