Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea launched a scathing attack on Wednesday against the Change and Reform bloc led by MP Michel Aoun, accusing it of seeking to “change the political system” and noting that the LF voted for extending the parliament's term in order to prevent the fall of the state.
“It has become obvious that the aim of the Change and Reform bloc is toppling all state institutions as a prelude to changing the entire political system through a constituent assembly,” Geagea said at a press conference in Maarab, hours after the parliament voted to extend its own term for another 27 months.
The LF's MPs were among 95 lawmakers who voted in favor of extension.
The Change and Reform and Kataeb blocs boycotted the session while the two MPs of the Tashnag Party voted against the move.
“The constituent assembly was a dangerous and destructive idea that we couldn't accept from the (Change and Reform) bloc, so we found ourselves obliged to approve the extension decision,” Geagea explained.
“Between extension and elections, we choose elections, but between extension and toppling the state, we choose extension,” he pointed out.
“A member of the (Change and Reform) bloc said that 'what happened today was a robbery of the parliament,' but the decision to hold the polls was in the hand of the entire government, not only in the hand of the interior minister,” Geagea noted, arguing that the bloc could have pressed for holding the polls through its ministers in the cabinet.
Continuing his criticism of Change and Reform, the LF leader said that “for the sake of a presidential candidate, they left the country without a president for five months.”
“Why didn't one of their ministers tell the government that they can't continue to take part in a cabinet that did not prepare for elections?” Geagea asked.
He charged that the Change and Reform bloc “is lamenting extension while it was one of the parties that colluded to torpedo the elections.”
“The Change and Reform bloc was at least standing idly by if we don't want to say that they colluded” to prevent the organization of the polls, added Geagea.
Describing Aoun as “the champion of failed adventures and wars,” the LF chief noted that the rival Christian leader “had several times admitted that we cannot hold elections in these circumstances.”
“How can you accuse the LF of breaching Christian consensus after your Christian allies (Marada bloc) voted in favor of extension? Who said that extension is a Muslim demand and its rejection is a Christian demand? The LF's men were killed during the war under the excuse of abolishing militias while today, during peace times, you have an agreement with militias,” Geagea added, addressing Aoun and his bloc.
Noting that the LF was “the only Christian party to submit a draft electoral law to the parliament,” Geagea dismissed as “lies” claims that his party had breached “Christian consensus” over the controversial electoral law proposed by the Orthodox Gathering -- under which each sect would elect its own MPs.
“We must return to Bkirki's statement” in this regard, Geagea said.
“The 2013 extension occurred due to (the dispute) over the electoral law and today the reason behind extension is your obstruction of the presidential vote,” the LF leader added.
“All your acts are an attempt at deceiving people and you didn't want elections in the first place,” he said, addressing Change and Reform.
Last year, the parliament extended its term until November 2014 after the MPs failed to agree on a new law and claimed the security situation did not guarantee violence-free elections.
The Baabda Palace has been vacant since the expiry of President Michel Suleiman's term in May. The rival MPs have failed to elect a new head of state over their differences on a compromise candidate.
The majority of the March 8 camp's lawmakers have boycotted the sessions, insisting that there should be consensus on a candidate first.
But their boycott has also been seen as a sign of their rejection of Geagea's candidacy, which was officially endorsed by the March 14 forces before the coalition suggested agreeing on a compromise nominee.
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