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Nasrallah’s Post-Election Recipe

Nasrallah’s Post-Election Recipe

Friday, 20 May, 2022 - 11:15
Elias Harfoush
Lebanese writer and journalist

Those betting on the election results changing the political landscape in Lebanon or the country’s political trajectory, were met with a swift response from Hezbollah officials and its Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah.

Through what they considered an objective reading of the results, it is clear that the party’s goals for the upcoming period, or what can be called a post-elections “recipe,” can be split into four headings. And it is well known that Hezbollah’s recipes for Lebanon rarely miss their mark.

1. The first heading is Hezbollah’s weapons and the trilogy that it calls “golden” (the army, the people, and the resistance), whose inclusion it has managed to impose on every ministerial statement released by the governments in which it had been represented. The campaigns launched by Hezbollah opponents were centered around this issue. Indeed, such campaigns were supported by the country’s sects and parties, with the exception of the Shiites, whose ability to confront Hezbollah and Amal’s discourse is limited for known reasons.

Hezbollah sees the election results as having created a safety net for the party and its arsenal, thanks to the massive numbers of people the party claims voted for its candidates in its areas of influence, especially in the South and the Bekaa. The way Hezbollah sees it, the number of votes in favor of the party, over half a million, means that it has a popular majority. The party believes that its opponents have failed to achieve their main objective, taking back control, restoring the sovereignty of the state, and ending the presence of all illegitimately armed organizations.

2. It is crucial for the party to prevent its discourse about those who want to disarm the party from losing its sway, to ensure that it can continue to convince voters that anyone who attempts to remove the party’s arms deserves to be accused of treachery. Their opponents “collude” with the Israelis and the Americans, and the party, which sees itself as the only “guardian” of the country’s interests, is therefore ready to confront them if they “miscalculate,” as Mohammad Raad, head of the party’s parliamentary bloc said.“We have accepted you as opponents in Parliament, but cannot accept you as shields for the Israelis, and those standing behind the Israelis,” Raad said after announcing the election results. Meanwhile, his opponents gloated about having won the majority, claiming that this affirms their representativeness of the Lebanese people, which enables them to face Hezbollah in the Parliament. Raad threatened “civil war” in the event that they move forward with their demands to remove Hezbollah’s arms: “do not be the fuel of a civil war towards which the Israelis will lead you”.

3. Hezbollah pointed to the election results as proof of the baselessness of the accusations that it dominates the country through its arsenal. “How can our arsenal mean dominance if you can vote freely and choose whomever you want, even if they are our opponents?”

And in a slip of the tongue, Nasrallah confirmed the veracity of the accusations that it can disrupt political activity. “If we wanted to disrupt elections, we would have,” he said, affirming the party’s dominance over Lebanese politics. It allows things to move forward when it wants and impedes when it does not.

On top of that, Nasrallah reminds us that he “allowed” elections to be held in 2005 (after the assassination of Prime Minister Rafic Hariri) and in 2009, both of which granted the party’s opponents a majority.

However, Hezbollah, as it flaunts its democratic credentials, forgets to remind the Lebanese how it reacted to the emergence of a majority opposed in Parliament and the two governments that this majority managed to form. The formation of the first government was met with assassinations of key March 14 figures after the hundreds of thousands came together to face the Syrian regime and Hezbollah in the aftermath of the assassination of Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, as well as the siege of the Parliament in downtown Beirut and the attack of May 7, 2008, which Nasrallah considered “glorious” day in the country’s history.

The second time it was formed, the Shiite ministers in Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s 2011 government resigned, and under the pretext of the executive having lost its “sectarian representativeness,” he and his government were toppled. They took the decision to resign in response to the Special Tribunal’s investigations in the assassination of Rafic Hariri.

4- With that in mind, we must accept that the rise of an electoral majority in Lebanon means nothing to Hezbollah. Nasrallah thus rushed to announce that the most recent elections did not generate any majority, although it is clear from the results that the forces opposed to his project make up a majority in the new Parliament. To work around this obstacle, Nasrallah is now calling for the formation of a “national unity” government and partnership and cooperation.

The objective is clear, using the half-baked concept of a “blocking third” to paralyze the government from within so long as it does not have the votes needed to impose a loyal majority government. MP Mohammad Raad had already reminded his opponents, before the elections, that “they must understand, if they are thinking of ruling by majority, the majority cannot rule in Lebanon.” This is the image that Hezbollah presents to the Lebanese and those concerned with Lebanon’s situation. Nothing has changed. We are here, armed and ready. Your elections and majority are not our concerns. If you want to use your democracy against us, we will put you in the same category as traitors, and civil war will be our route to settling the score…We must admit that Hezbollah is right. Elections are meaningless in a country where one party is armed to the teeth, allowing it to impose its dominance over the political process if results go against it.

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