Samir Geagea, leader of the Lebanese Forces (FL) party, gave an interview to Radio Liban Libre (RLL) on 18 February 2021. He said that “the only way out of the current crisis is the early parliamentary elections” and that “there is no hope with the current parliamentary majority”.
The protest movement that began on 17 October 2019 failed to impose new parties on the political scene. That is why French President Emmanuel Macron, who has declared his support for this movement, has only existing parties as interlocutors. Even if they have lost popularity, it is not clear how the club of former prime ministers (Saad Hariri, Fouad Siniora, Tammam Salam and Najib Mikati) could immediately lose the Sunni vote. Or how the Shiite tandem (the Amal movement of Nabih Berri, the Speaker of the House, and Hezbollah) loses the Shiite vote. Or how the Joumblatt clan would lose the Druze vote, as long as there was no stable peace.
On the other hand, early parliamentary elections would weaken Christians because it is likely that the majority of depressed Christian voters will not vote.
The Free Patriotic Movement (CPL) founded by the President of the Republic Michel Aoun, now has the largest bloc in Parliament (led by the leader of the CPL Gébran Bassil). The movement, which won the Christian vote in 2005, 2009 and 2018, retains an important footing. But in the new elections, he could lose feathers even. Taking advantage of the abstention and the retreat of the CPL, the FL party and the Kataab party (samy Gemayel) might win additional MPs.
The logic of early parliamentary elections is therefore a logic of political politics, since Christian MPs would then be a little more divided, and the main parliamentary bloc led by a Christian would therefore weigh less. Those who claim them actually see only their own interests. That the FL party and the Katab party have more MPs and even get all Christian ministers in a government following these early parliamentary elections is unlikely to be the only solution to the crisis, given the weakness of the achievements of the MPs and ministers of these parties since the Taif agreement in 1989. In addition, the ministers representing Samir Geagea, along with those representing Nabih Berri, Walid Joumblatt and Sleiman Frangié, led an opposition within the two governments led by Saad Hariri between 2016 and 2020 (i.e. since the election of Michel Aoun as President of the Republic) and thus contributed to the failure of these governments. The most serious of these failures is the failure to implement the reforms required to obtain funds from CEDRE (Economic Conference for Development through Reforms and With Business).
The leader of the FL party also said: “Our position was clear from the beginning of the crisis in this country: the President of the Republic should resign. However, in the presence of the current parliamentary majority, any resignation would be in vain. Therefore, early parliamentary elections must be held with a view to a new parliamentary majority that will elect a new President. »
To say that is to make it look like the President is governing. Geagea knows, however, that the executive power is in the hands of the Council of Ministers and its President, that the legislative power is in the hands of Parliament and its president, that the army obeys the Council of Ministers which appoints, renews or dismisses its commander-in-chief, that the Central Bank is independent but that its governor is appointed , renewed or dismissed by the Council of Ministers, that the criminal judiciary is headed by the Attorney General at the Court of Cassation, which is close to Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri, and that from now on, the Ministry of Finance (through which all departmental budgets pass, and which deals with the Treasury) will be reserved for a person appointed by the President of Parliament In: Nabih Berri. Even with a large parliamentary bloc and a large number of ministers, a highly electoral President cannot influence the essential decisions. How much stronger would it be with fewer MPs and ministers.
Why are geagea’s attacks targeting the President of the Republic, a Christian, rather than the club of former prime ministers whose members led the executive and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri at the head of the legislative branch and in place since 1992?
Samir Geagea also assured that “Bkerké never disappointed the Lebanese. Patriarch Béchara Boutros Rahi called for an international conference to resolve the Lebanese crisis after failing to convince officials, including the President of the Republic, the Prime Ministers and Parliament, to make the necessary efforts to prevent the collapse that has taken place over the past year and four months..
A few years ago, Samir Geagea blamed the same Patriarch for his positions on the war in Syria, while the aftermath (the appearance of the Islamic State) proved the Patriarch right. If his proposal for active neutrality in Lebanon can only please a majority of Lebanese (even if Hezbollah and Shiite religious dignitaries oppose it because they did not understand it or because it was poorly explained to them), his support and that of his adviser, the former minister Séjean Azzi (he was then a member of the Katab party) , in Riad Salamé the governor of the Bank of Lebanon (BDL) disappointed public opinion very much, starting with the members of the protest movement that he says he supports. Finally, the international conferences on Lebanon have not really served Lebanon if we remember the results of the Cairo agreement, the Lausanne and Geneva conferences, the tripartite agreement in Damascus, the Taif agreement or even the Doha agreement…
Finally, regarding the rights of Christians, the leader of the FL party said that the recovery of these rights will take place through the building of a real state in Lebanon, a “state that will preserve the sovereignty, freedom and dignity of that community”.
His words are outrageous. How long will Christians have to wait for such a state to be born and their rights to be restored? Samir Geagea systematically opposed the most popular Christian: Bachir Gemayel, then Fouad Abou Nader, and finally Michel Aoun. In doing so, did he help the Christians?
The Lebanese Resistance defended the Lebanese state. By turning it into a personal militia fighting the Lebanese state, did Samir Geagea help The Christians?
In supporting the agreement of Taif, who stripped the head of state — a christian office — of his prerogatives, helped Christians?
He led the only Christian militia not to be submissive to the occupier. He refused to disarm it when Christians ruled Lebanon, using weapons to weaken the Lebanese army and bomb Christians. Geagea only disarmed when the leaders of the pro-Syrian militias shared power under the patronage of the occupier… knowing that the others would remain armed, especially the Palestinians and Hezbollah.
Did he help the Christians in this way?
Lebanon’s enemies targeted all Lebanese communities. But they chose to attack Christians above all, because they are the binder of the mosaic formed by these communities; but they are an active and voluntary binder, the backbone of the building., Only Christians whose rights have been restored will be able to build a real state in Lebanon, a state for them and their Sunni, Shiite, Druze and Alawite partners.
And it is not those who have taken away these rights from them who will give them back.