Hariri Says Mustaqbal Defeated 'Elimination' Bid, Hits Back at Israeli Ministerإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Prime Minister Saad Hariri admitted Monday that his al-Mustaqbal Movement had lost a third of its seats in parliament following the country's first general election in nine years, while noting that it faced “a scheme to eliminate it from political life.”
Hariri said the results, which have not yet been officially announced, credit his movement with 21 of parliament's 128 seats, a drop from the 33 it controlled in the outgoing legislature.
“The Lebanese have said their word and there was a clear 'yes' to al-Mustaqbal Movement and its candidates,” the premier added.
"We were betting on a better result and a wider bloc with better Christian and Shiite participation," he said.
Vowing that Mustaqbal will remain “the movement of moderation across Lebanon,” Hariri added that “people voted for the stability project.”
“Those who won in parliamentary elections are our partners in the principle of stability,” he noted.
And adding that he is “satisfied with the results” of the elections, Hariri said he extends his hand to “every Lebanese man and woman who took part in the elections, in order to preserve stability and create jobs.”
Hariri -- and other senior politicians -- blamed the unexpectedly weak turnout on a new electoral law which appears to have confused or disappointed voters.
"The problem with this election: a lot of people didn't understand it," he said when asked about the turnout.
The prime minister stressed that “Lebanon can only be ruled through all its political components,” adding that “those who think otherwise would be fooling themselves.”
“That's why we should work together to build the country,” he added.
As for his relation with President Michel Aoun, Hariri emphasized that he will remain his “ally.”
“This alliance ensures stability... and political consensus and the election of President Aoun are what immunized the country,” the PM added.
Asked whether his bloc will vote in favor of the re-election of Nabih Berri as Parliament Speaker, Hariri said: “I will answer like Speaker Nabih Berri did: I know who I will vote for.”
Asked about the remarks of an Israeli minister, who said the vote results show that “Hizbullah equals Lebanon,” Hariri underlined that “Lebanon is the Lebanese government, the dissociation policy and the ministerial policy statement.”
“Hizbullah has a parliamentary bloc and it has weapons, but this is a regional issue,” the premier added.
“The president said that a defense strategy will be discussed after the elections, and as for the issue of weapons, my stance is well-known and I'm against illegitimate weapons,” he went on to say.