Adonis Diaries

A disruptive political strategy for Lebanon? How much disruption can unite the spirit of a disturbed “pseudo-citizen”?

Posted on: June 2, 2022

Gilbert Doumit

The newly elected alternative MPs need a disruptive political strategy! #Lebanon

We are living in times of state failure which creates an opportunity to rebuild the country from scratch. But to do so, the newly elected MPs need to be bold, strategic and know how to leverage the powers they have:

1- Power of the Street: most of them stemmed out of the protest movement, and they will need this movement to be mobilized in times of confrontation with the traditional political parties. It is crucial to stay close to their constituency, fellow activists and street mobilizers to back them up in critical times.

2- Power of Legitimacy: most of them have been part of small incapable political groups, so they will need to play a role in organizing new/existing political groups that can benefit from the legitimacy they gained after winning their seats. It is essential to have political organizations that can ensure sustainable engagement, support and drive.

3- Power of Competence: most of them have a good combination of technical and political experience, and as they are still new, they are willing to be proactive and put forward policies and legislations that are creative and progressive. It is a key competitive advantage compared to old school cynical partisan MPs.

The hype around them will be lost rapidly and their credibility will be gradually questioned, so this is a proposed three-pronged political strategy:

1- Targeted People Mobilization: Open Place de l’Etoile for weekly public meetings and regular regional townhall meetings as a vehicle for mobilization in critical political times.

2- Differentiated Political Positioning: forge unconventional political stances and actions, and even in their personal conduct.

3- Disruptive Policy Solutions: propose innovative, evidence and tech-based policies leaving most traditional politicians behind, and incapable of catching up.

Sample of tactics that could be adopted to open the parliament:

1- Impose livestreaming parliamentary committee meetings and general assembly meetings (at least with their phones)

2- Impose digitization of voting and parliamentary procedures

3- Create a digital platform and publish all received law proposals for public deliberation

4- Organize public events in Place de l’Etoile and an open door policy in the parliamentarians offices

5- Propose a new structure for Cabinet, ministries and public administration

6- Form an investigative parliamentary committee for corruption and Beirut port explosion (Will Not go far)

7- Publish personal wealth publicly

8- Lead protests on social and economic issues that partisan MPs are resisting

9- Create a multi-stakeholder lobby for critical reforms to be adopted by parliament (Fuzzy opinion)

10- Form a committee to protect freedoms, particularly of activists and journalists (We have far more freedom than liberty in opportunities)

Also, it is important to be ready with proactive approaches for the different critical junctures within the constitutional political timeline:

– Electing a speaker of the house (done by 65 votes out of 128 deputies)

– Nominating a prime Minister

– Forming the next government

– Electing a president

– Adopting a public budget (Parliament stopped reviewing the budget)

– Reviewing the electoral law ( a debilitating law)

As for the core issues in the country that require complex evidence-based systems solutions and long negotiation processes with multi-stakeholders, the new MPs might want to come together and organize 7 policy task forces of experts around the following issues:

– Social Protection

– Economic development

– Financial Restructuring

– Accountability and Justice

– Foreign Policy

– Protection of Freedoms

– National Security (Tackling HA issue through a multi-layered approach)

As well, they will need 3 units supporting them: communications, mobilization and fundraising.

I hope we can build rapidly on the hope generated by the last elections’ results before it fades away, while the country is rapidly drowning into further crises.

Note: what about this parallel parliament that the “non-traditional lists” of candidates promised the electors?

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