The leader of Lebanon’s Kataeb party, Samy Gemayel, on Friday threatened to “paralyze” the Lebanese presidential election if Hezbollah’s candidate plans to “protect the weapons” of the Shiite party.
Gemayel’s threat, which was made during an address to Kataeb's 32nd general congress, will hardly be effective if he does not coordinate with the rest of Lebanon’s opposition forces.
“Today’s battle isn’t against a certain group of Lebanese. It is against the existential threat which affects Lebanese Christians and Muslims alike,” said Gemayel, adding that the fight was against a group that is seeking to destroy the country by promoting sectarian strife.
“We are witnessing a blow to the judiciary, institutions, freedom of expression and free media, and we want to preserve the freedom of our country and its identity, but we will not succeed unless we are united,” added Gemayel.
Moreover, Gemayel launched veiled criticism of Hezbollah’s Christian ally, the Free Patriotic Movement.
He accused the Lebanese party of handing over the country to Hezbollah under the false pretext of protecting Christians.
“We were only able to achieve the withdrawal of the Syrian army when we united in Martyrs' Square, and we will not preserve Lebanon unless we all unite,” stressed Gemayel.
Gemayel also emphasized that there is a shadow state, controlled by Hezbollah, vying for control over Lebanon.
“It is no longer possible for us to submit to the will of (Hezbollah) in Lebanon, and we call on all Lebanese to shoulder their responsibilities,” said Gemayel.
Lebanon has been without a president since Oct. 31, when the mandate of Michel Aoun— an ally of Hezbollah — came to an end. The country has also been governed by a caretaker cabinet since May 2022, while 11 parliamentary sessions have failed to elect a president.