Geagea Says Biggest Danger Lies in 'Constitutional Decay'

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea shrugged off the deterioration of the security situation in the country, saying the biggest danger facing Lebanon lies in the disintegration of state institutions.

The danger posed by jihadists and battles are so far limited, Geagea told the Kuwaiti al-Qabas newspaper in an interview published on Sunday.

The real threat comes from “the Constitutional decay … The Constitution is currently not being implemented,” he said.

“Such a decay started with the failure to hold the presidential elections,” Geagea told his interviewer.

The paralysis of the polls will damage all the Lebanese, the LF chief, who is a presidential candidate, warned.

He was optimistic however that “the security dangers … won't blow up (the situation) in Lebanon.”

Tensions have ratcheted in recent weeks, after jihadists from Syria overran the Lebanese northeastern border town of Arsal in August, capturing and killing soldiers and policemen.

The militants, including the al-Qaida linked al-Nusra Front and the extremist Islamic State group, took with them hostages from the army and police.

At least three have been killed by their captors. Two have been beheaded by Islamic State militants, sparking days of violence against Syrian refugees in Lebanon and tit-for-tat kidnappings between Sunnis and Shiites.

Geagea, a member of the March 14 coalition, reiterated his rejection of so-called self-security.

He gave the example of the Christian border village of al-Qaa, where “March 8 alliance parties distributed weapons” to residents to allegedly protect themselves from jihadists.

“If 60,000 rifles owned by the Lebanese army, in addition to its tanks, canons and training are not capable of deterring possible attacks, how would 50 rifles be able to do so?” Geagea asked.

He accused the March 8 camp's parties of seeking to leave the impression that they are defending Christians in the region.

On the presidential deadlock, Geagea told al-Qabas that he rejects to limit the term of the president, which currently stands at six years.

His refusal came in response to a question on why he would not accept a proposal for his rival Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun to be elected for a term of two years.

Geagea said some centrist officials were making the proposal. He did not name them.

“Shortening the presidential term is rejected because it is prohibited to touch the tenure of the head of state,” he added.

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