The head of the Lebanese Phalange Party, MP Sami Gemayel, warned that the current electoral law was “tailored to secure Hezbollah’s winning of the majority of parliament,” noting in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat that such victory “will be a disaster.”
Gemayel stressed that if Hezbollah wins, it will “propagate its political program, which begins with the final legitimation of the weapons and leads to more control over Lebanon and its decision-making process.”
The ruling authority “has left the defensive role and the foreign policy to [Hezbollah] and maintained the role of managing developmental affairs, in which it failed miserably due to poor planning, corruption and sharing of the spoils among the pillars of power,” according to the Lebanese deputy.
Gemayel recalled his party’s warnings when Michel Aoun was elected president of the republic, saying that the results began to reveal that there is a president who is party to the Arab-Iranian conflict, which means that Lebanon will “pay the price.”
“I believe that the context is clear: we are going to a further abandonment of the sovereignty of the State and to subjecting the State’s decision to other states with illegal weapons. This has been the norm for almost 10 years now. We moved from the veto right to unilateral decisions. Today, we move from a unilateral decision taken after negotiation with other parties to a unilateral decision taken without any negotiations,” the head of Phalange Party told Asharq Al-Awsat.
He continued: “In 2008, at the Doha Conference, we committed to the blocking third and the veto right, and in 2015 and 2016, with the election of President Aoun, the process of unilateral decisions was adopted.”
Gemayel went on to say that if Hezbollah wins the majority in the upcoming parliamentary elections, it will monopolize decision-making.
“In the coming elections, if they take the majority - and they more likely will because [the law] was tailored to give them the majority - the atmosphere will be: we decide, but we do not negotiate,” he warned.
Gemayel underlined that his party would “fight the electoral battle against the ruling power because we don’t have only a problem of sovereignty in the country but also a problem of administration, economy and public freedoms.”
“Hezbollah is not solely responsible for this, but all the parties that take over the Lebanese State which have brought the country to the current situation, not only politically but economically,” he affirmed.
“They have all abandoned their principles and political views in favor of their interests. The government has completely abandoned its sovereign role. There is no talk on defense policy or foreign policy, as if the Lebanese State today has no opinion on these issues,” he noted.
Asked about his party’s electoral alliances and whether he would engage in a joint battle with the Lebanese Forces, Gemayel said: “The Lebanese Forces have not settled their position yet; they are still in a relationship with the ruling power and are present in the government. They are trying to improve relations with some ruling parties. We are not in this atmosphere, and for us, this position must be settled in order to engage in a common battle.”
On whether his party would form electoral lists to face Hezbollah in its zone of influence, the Lebanese MP said: “We will form lists and join forces with all those who are ready to fight this battle with us across the country. Contacts are underway with all the parties who are beside us in all Lebanese regions, and we are going to have a position, candidates and lists in all Lebanese districts.”
Gemayel warned that the situation in the country would be “dangerous” if Hezbollah won the parliamentary majority.
“Today, we regret to see Lebanon in a tense situation with all the Arab countries, which puts all the Lebanese working in the Gulf in social and economic danger,” he said. “Unfortunately, Lebanon is becoming part of the axis to which Hezbollah belongs.”
Gemayel underlined that it was the Lebanese Army - not Hezbollah - which protected Lebanon from the threats of extremists.
“The Army in its battle in the mountains of Arsal has proved its military ability to confront terrorist groups,” he stated.