Lebanon: Opposition leaders stress right for veto power in future cabinet
Opposition leaders - Hizbullah Secretary General Hasan Nasrallah and the head of the Free Patriotic Movement MP General Michel Aoun joined together for a special interview Wednesday night on Orange TV. Both leaders were marking the second anniversary of the Memorandum of understanding which they signed in the Mar Mekhayel Church in the southern suberb of Beirut.
The two leaders insisted that their union helped spare Lebanon civil war. "We cannot give up veto power because we cannot be mere spectators within the government," Aoun said in the three-and-a-half-hour interview. "It would spell our destruction."
"Any attempt to evict the opposition from decision-making is unacceptable," Aoun added.
Nasrallah for his part insisted that veto power "is the mechanism that guarantees building trust" with the anti-Syrian ruling majority in Lebanon. "The problem today is the loss of trust and any political solution demands trust," Nasrallah noted.
Both Nasrallah and Aoun said their two-year old alliance was still strong and that its greatest accomplishment was safeguarding civil peace despite the political bickering with the ruling March 14 Forces. According to Aoun, Lebanese army commander Michel Suleiman was still acceptable as a consensus presidential candidate provided that agreement was reached on the formation of the future government and the terms of a new electoral law.
Nasrallah agreed, saying that Suleiman needed to ensure a "speedy and serious" probe into the bloody riots in order to preserve both national unity and that of the Lebanese army.
The political crisis has been exacerbated after seven opposition followers, including two supporters of Hizbullah, were killed January 27 in confrontations with the army. "The army must undertake a serious and decisive investigation in order to protect itself," Nasrallah said, according to AFP. "Is it the army's natural task to open fire on protesters?" he asked.
Nasrallah, however, stressed that he considers "any attack on the army as an attack on the resistance."