Naharnet

Nasrallah Lashes Out at Hariri, Says He's against Government Resignation

Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Saturday said officials who “relinquish” their responsibilities and decide to resign must be “brought to justice,” adding that he does not support the government's resignation amid nationwide protests calling for politicians to step down over a deepening economic crisis

Nasrallah said that calls for the current national unity government to resign are "a waste of time" since the same political groups will haggle over forming a new one.

He also told demonstrators demanding the term of President Michel Aoun be toppled “you can not topple the presidential term.”

“Those who relinquish their responsibilities and threaten to step down must be brought to justice,” said Nasrallah in a televised speech apparently referring to PM Saad Hariri who addressed the nation Friday as thousands outraged by corruption and proposed tax hikes protested demanding his resignation.

Hariri gave his partners in government a 72-hour ultimatum to come up with "convincing" solutions for a rapidly worsening economic crisis, blaming politicians in his national unity government for blocking his reform agenda at every turn.

“Everyone in the authority and outside the authority must shoulder their responsibility for how things turned out in the country. Some officials are relinquishing their responsibilities and throwing the blame on others and those must be brought to justice,” said Nasrallah.

He added: “You may not rule the country for the last 30 years and turn the blame on others today.”

Urging the Lebanese’ vigilance, he said: “The Lebanese must be responsible enough to counter the economic crisis through vigilance.”

Demonstrators calling for throwing the presidential term of President Michel Aoun, the Hizbullah chief said: “You are wasting your time if you think you can topple the presidential term.”

“Officials must realize the people's inability to tolerate new taxes. Some in power thought that raising taxes can swiftly pass again like before, but the demonstrations relayed a message to officials that they won't tolerate that anymore,” he added.

Nasrallah noted that a number of options are available to counter the economic crisis away from the imposition of new taxes.

He refuted reports circulating about the country’s collapse, “sayings that the country has economically collapsed are totally not true,” he said.

“Everyone mainly the rich must make sacrifices in order to save Lebanon,” he said.

Largescale protests that have targeted the country's entire political class have brought Lebanon to a standstill since Thursday.

Nasrallah warned the protesters against being pulled into political rivalries, saying that would derail their message. He said politicians who shirk responsibility, by quitting the Cabinet while the economy crumbles, should be brought to trial.

Lebanon's prime minister gave his partners in government a 72-hour ultimatum to come up with convincing solutions amid the pressures.


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