Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil lashed out Sunday at Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri and warned of a perceived attempt to return the country to the “pre-2005 era.”
“What is the current specialty of the PM-designate?” Bassil said in a televised address, casting doubt on the possibility that the new government will be truly a so-called “government of specialists.”
“The rule of specialty was not only broken in naming the premier but also the ministers! What does it mean to give a single minister two portfolios such as foreign affairs and agriculture or social affairs and environment or administrative development and youth and sport? What specialty is this?” Bassil asked.
Lamenting that “there is no expertise nor standards nor rules in what is being proposed,” Bassil claimed that the objective is to “downsize the government and cling to 14 or 18 seats in order to aggrieve Druze and Greek Catholics.”
He added: “We do not entrust Hariri alone with reform and to them this government is aimed at seizing control of the country and returning us to the pre-2005 era.”
Addressing the public opinion, he went on to say: “Do you believe that these people want a government for reform, forensic audit, combating corruption, recovering transferred and looted funds and lifting secrecy off the accounts of politicians and state employees? Who prevented them from abiding by CEDRE's reforms? No one, other than laziness, ignorance, reluctance to conduct reform and hunger for stealing public funds.”
“There is a Lebanese Ghazi Kanaan and his electoral laws are present and there is a Lebanese Rustom Ghazaleh and his appointments are present,” Bassil added, apparently comparing the two late Syrian officers who were in charge of Lebanon’s file to rival Lebanese leaders.
“We won’t allow a return to the era of marginalization and elimination,” Bassil stressed.
Moreover, Bassil called for holding a national dialogue that produces a “common Lebanese vision for a new political system that guarantees stability for the country.”
“Jumping over the system's structural problems under the excuse that Hizbullah alone is to blame for the state's collapse means that someone does not want to resolve the problem but rather to deepen it,” Bassil said.
“Of course the issues of arms, defense strategy, Lebanon's position, its relations with nations and the issue of its neutrality are existential issues that should be at the heart of the needed dialogue,” he added.
“We don't accept that our land be a stage for the conflicts of others nor that resistant arms be in the service of any project other than protecting Lebanon,” he emphasized.
Bassil also revealed that the FPM has agreed with Hizbullah on “launching a bilateral dialogue to review our relation and the memorandum of understanding regarding key issues, including foreign relations and the building of the state, because things are not going well.”
“But this bilateral dialogue is not enough and Hizbullah and us are not the entire the country,” he added.
“We need a new contract between the Lebanese, which we should forge through our freewill and timing, instead of it being imposed on us by the developments and before foreign forces oblige us to make flawed settlements similar to those that led us into the current situation,” Bassil said.
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