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Lebanon: Bassil’s Remarks Draw Widespread Criticism

Lebanon: Bassil’s Remarks Draw Widespread Criticism

Tuesday, 23 February, 2021 - 11:15
Former Minister Gebran Bassil. Reuters file photo

A speech made by the head of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), MP Gebran Bassil, on Sunday stirred political reactions after he spared no party his verbal attacks except for his ally, Hezbollah.

Al-Mustaqbal Movement responded to Bassil’s remarks, saying he was acting like a spokesman for President Michel Aoun, while continuing to obstruct the formation of the government.

The NBN channel, which is affiliated to Speaker Nabih Berri’s Amal Movement, described Bassil as a “political virus”, accusing him of seeking “narrow and personal interests.”

A statement by Amal’s political bureau said the FPM leader was stirring sectarian tension “instead of seizing the opportunity to get out of the crisis by speeding up the formation of a government based on Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri’s national initiative.”

The head of the Marada movement, former Minister Suleiman Franjieh, said listening to Bassil “is a waste of time.”

“I didn’t hear it and I don’t want to hear it,” Franjieh told Mustqbal Web when asked to comment on Bassil’s press conference.

The statements of Bassil, who is Aoun’s son-in-law, were also severely criticized by the Lebanese Forces.

LF MP Georges Okais commented in a series of tweets, saying: “I am a representative of the Lebanese Forces, and the Christians I represent are looking for a state, for institutions, for a future, not for shares and strife in a state of collapse, isolation, and adherence to the axis of resistance.”

He continued: “As for [Bassil’s] saying: Give us reform and take the government, we ask you: You have had governments for a long time, so what reforms did you do?”

During his press conference on Sunday, Bassil lashed out at Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri, saying: “There are those who want the presidency to lose more days [of the tenure] without a government… They don’t have a problem if the country collapses, what is important for them is that Michel Aoun falls.”

He also attacked the Christian leaders for not standing by him in the face of attempts to monopolize the rights of Christians.

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