New Blood for Kataeb
In Beirut earlier this week, the Kataeb Party (also known as the Phalange Party) elected 16 new members to its top office, five to the honorary board and four to the treasury. This came after a three day conference where there were also votes on various amendments of its bylaws. Ballots were cast by over 350 Party members in Saifi, Beirut.
Democracy Comes to Beirut
This was an extremely democratic event. Indeed, according to re-elected deputy head Sejaan Azzi, it was described as a “relief” to be able to witness such a “democratic competition within a political party in times like these.” Still, while Azzi may have believed that to be true, the fact of the matter was that along with another deputy head, Shaker Aoun, his re-election was uncontested. However he put that down to the fact that they both provide “confidence” to the electorate. Basically though, the fact still remains that the Kataeb Party usually engages in democratically-based elections and voting, with elections being held once every four years since the party’s founding in 1936.
There has now also been a call for strengthening the party’s role vis-à-vis Beirut’s society. As well, according to an article in The Daily Star it has been suggested that setting up a shadow government to keep tabs on Parliament’s actions could be very helpful. And it wouldn’t hurt to “buttress the vital role of the youth and women within the party” either.
Still, one cannot help but look at the politicians who are running the Kataeb Party show. Leader of the party today is Amin Gemayel who happens to be the son of the party’s founder, Pierre Gemayel. That just might get the critics cackling.