Years ago during the campaigning of Britain”s main political parties the Conservatives and the Labour Party, a Conservative leader was a guest speaker on a BBC program. He was asked by the presenter, "Do you think that the Conservatives will get an overwhelming number of votes and win for the third time?" to which the guest replied, "Yes, sadly enough." Puzzled, the presenter further questioned, "Why is it sad?" and the Conservative leader answered, saying "I fear that by staying in power for too long, we will forget how to be good opposition and I”m concerned that too many years of opposition for Labour may effect their ability to efficiently run a state in the future!."
The example given shows the British politician did not prioritize his own party but rather put the country”s interests first. He was not concerned about his party but more importantly about his people. The quality of his nature is the result of the development of democracy and the alternation of rule.
I remembered this account as I heard the announcement that the opposition in Lebanon had won a parliamentary majority. I wondered if this incredible advancement in Lebanese politics would spread and develop into an even bigger success. Will the Lebanese opposition realize that they are no longer an opponent and that they have to transform their political tone and discourse?
There is nothing easier than being the opposition. The opposition in comparison to those in rule is hardly questioned and in fact spends most of its time criticizing its competition. The opposition unlike the government in rule is not requested to provide a list of achievements!
The Lebanese opposition faces a major challenge and has a complicated mission to complete successfully. They are now facing a shift from attacking the government to defending it. Now, no member of the opposition can attack government bodies and institutions. They now have the authority and ability to rectify problems from the past and issue new laws. The task is no longer to crack down on corruption but to destroy it from its roots and the previous opposition no longer needs to attack government but rather needs to guide and direct it through a majority.
The former Lebanese opposition and present Lebanese administration must always keep in mind that if they fail to implement reform and gain the trust of the people, the ballot boxes would show no mercy to them. Loyal members of the former government who are now part of the opposition must act in a tactful and rational manner.