Lebanese MP Slams President Aoun Over ‘Marketing and Populist’ Motives

Published January 4th, 2022 - 11:02 GMT
Lebanese President Michel Aoun slammed
A Lebanese anti government protester holds a placard with a cartoon of (L-R) President Michel Aoun, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and head of the Shiite movement Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah sitting atop a national flag (with writing that refers to George Floyd's death) during a demonstration against the lack of progress in a probe by authorities into a monster blast that ravaged swathes of the capital 40 days ago, near the presidential palace in Baabda, east of the capital Beirut, on September 12, 2020. / AFP / ANWAR AMRO
Highlights
In response to Sunday’s speech from Bassil, who threatened to break off the partnership with Hezbollah.

The political aide of Lebanon’s parliament speaker on Monday attacked President Michel Aoun and the head of the Free Patriotic Movement, MP Gibran Bassil.

MP Ali Hassan Khalil made the remarks in response to Sunday’s speech from Bassil, who threatened to break off the partnership with Hezbollah and asked the party to choose between an understanding with him or an alliance with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.

Berri's move embarrassed FPM ally Hezbollah a few hours before the Monday evening speech from its secretary-general, Hassan Nasrallah.

Hezbollah was keen to avoid commenting on Bassil's press conference.

Political observers were expecting that Nasrallah would not cut ties with Bassil as he was the “only Christian ally of Hezbollah” in Lebanon.

Khalil said at a surprise press conference at the Amal Movement headquarters that the presidency and its movement were “detached from reality” and trying to blame their failure and crises on others.

He said Aoun's and Bassil's invitations to a national dialogue had “marketing and populist reasons” and accused the president’s political team of “disrupting” the state and decisions in the Cabinet in order to pass deals and decisions.

Khalil said Aoun was the one who had turned the “principle of participation into a confiscation under the sectarian title and slogans of the movement.”


He expressed his surprise at Bassil's adherence to the “financial decentralization” proposal, saying the proposal “blasts the basis of the unified state, its responsibility for all its people and regions, and the principle of balanced development.”

He further accused FPM ministers, who held the Ministry of Energy, of having ignored the law of the authority regulating the electricity sector for 12 years in order to remain in control of power and decisions, away from any oversight.


Khalil considered that Aoun and Bassil's demand for a financial criminal audit was “a slogan to delude public opinion that you are not corrupt in the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Communications during the era of your ministers and other ministries.”

He added that the “lie of the attack on the governor of the Central Bank, Riad Salameh, will not deceive public opinion and absolve you from the fact that you were the ones who initiated the renewal of his mandate, after you made a deal for banks affiliated with you to benefit from Salameh's financial engineering, and any denial (of this fact) is refuted by published documents.”

 

He said the Amal Movement's relationship with Hezbollah would not be shaken by “inciting words because it is built on foundations of frankness, trust and respect for the privacy of the other, and we are sure that the party and its leadership know that.”


The president's team stepped up its attack on Hezbollah and Berri against the backdrop of the Constitutional Council's failure to accept an appeal from Aoun's team against parliamentary amendments to the electoral law.

The dispute expanded to include criticism of Hezbollah and Berri for paralyzing the work of the Council of Ministers over the investigation into the Beirut Port explosion.

Khalil has been accused by Judge Tarek Bitar of being connected to the explosion, with a warrant issued for his arrest. The warrant has yet to be executed.

While Nasrallah was commemorating the third anniversary of the killing of Iranian military officer Qassem Soleimani in his speech on Monday evening, the Ain Al-Hilweh camp for Palestinian refugees witnessed some tension.

It was caused by a protest from a group inside the camp loyal to Hezbollah against people who were tearing up a picture of Soleimani that had been raised inside the camp.

Contacts were made between leaders inside the camp to calm the situation.

The protest extended to the area separating Ain Al-Hilweh camp and Haret Saida, which is dominated by Shiites, against the backdrop of raising the Soleimani picture, with young men placing red crosses on it to express their rejection.

The leaders in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon decided to neutralize the camps from any events taking place in the country.

This article has been adapted from its original source.


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