FPM, PSP Urge Supporters to End Social Media War

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The Free Patriotic Movement and the Progressive Socialist Party have called on their supporters to halt a war of words that has been raging between them for several weeks now on social networking websites.

“The best thing is to contemplate the situations of this world. Engaging in futile debates will not make any difference,” PSP leader Walid Jumblat tweeted.

He also urged Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri and caretaker Education Minister Marwan Hamadeh to address the file of Nizar Hani and Raja al-Ali.

“I have always supported the principle of dialogue, which is the best approach... Enough with incitement articles from cheap journalists,” Jumblat added.

“To the fanatics on social networking websites: the issues of electricity, water pollution, garbage, treasury deficit, unemployment and other social affairs are more important than what a son-in-law, a theoretician or a fanatic might do,” the PSP chief went on to say.

He also described Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi's call for a “neutral government” and an end to futile debates as “profound and wise.”

In a memo, the FPM meanwhile called on its officials, ministers, MPs and all members and supporters to “put an end to debates and pacify the rhetoric towards the PSP on social media and through the various media outlets.”

It warned that the verbal clashes “have taken a repugnant sectarian direction that is very distant from the FPM's rhetoric and values.”

The PSP's general secretariat later called on all officials, members, supporters and friends to “refrain from engaging in any political or media debates with the FPM via social networking websites or media outlets.”

“This would pacify the atmosphere and contribute to protecting the civil peace that the party has always struggled for over the past few years,” the PSP added.

The FPM and the PSP have been trading jabs in recent months against the backdrop of the stalled Cabinet formation process, with Jumblat demanding all three Druze seats in the government for his party amid the rejection of the FPM and its leader MP Jebran Bassil.

The war of words escalated further after FPM-backed officials sacked the employee Nizar Hani from the Environment Ministry and the employee Raja al-Ali from Electricite Du Liban in response to Hamadeh's firing of Hilda Khoury from the Education Ministry.

Jumblat slammed President Michel Aoun's tenure as a failure and the “tenure of thugs” after the move while describing Bassil as “the Jared Kushner of Lebanon,” drawing violent responses from the FPM's ministers and supporters.

PSP supporters also launched anti-FPM hashtags on social media in support of their party.

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