Bassil says FPM does not want to participate in new government
21 Feb 2021
(See Translation in Arabic Section)
Lebanon - The head of the Free Patriotic Movement, MP Gebran Bassil, said, in a televised speech that the "coronavirus is still our daily concern". He said: "It is true that the number of deaths and injuries has begun to decline, but the risk has not diminished, especially with the spread of new types of the virus. Prevention measures, especially masking, hygiene and social distancing are the basis, waiting for sufficient quantities of vaccine to arrive. The whole country is doing its work, from the President, Prime Minister and the Minister of Health, to each of us to speed up the national vaccination process so that the vaccine can be delivered to all Lebanese, without political bravado, in the spirit of national duty.”
MP Bassil considered that there were no words of consolation to families of the victims of the Beirut port blast except when the truth is revealed.
"A new judge has been appointed. This is an opportunity to speed-up the case and correct many judicial errors in this dossier," Bassil said.
The FPM leader criticized the imprisonment of employees under the pretext of "job negligence" while those accused of "premeditated murder" are outside prison.
Bassil also criticised those calling for an "international investigation", saying that this would lead to an unknown outcome.
"We want a bold, clean and effective judiciary," he said.
"Before I elaborate on the issue of the government, I’d tell all Lebanese that we are aware of their concerns and are searching for solutions to the crisis. In forming the government we made all concessions to the point of not participating in government; we reached this position, and we said we have confidence in the government." Remember, no-one can force us to have confidence in a government that does not respect the constitution.
“They want us to participate in violence. We don't want to participate. We did not ask about the formalities, who tells us and who does not, and we did not ask for a ministry or a number; we accepted every condition that applied to the rest. This is called the ‘unity of standards’, for those who do not understand their meaning. We accept any solution that respects the charter, abides by the constitution and protects rights. In the battle for rights, no one tries to tempt us, and thinks that we have changed. We will not let you turn back 30 years. "
Commenting on the impasse in forming a government, he stressed that other political parties want the Free Patriotic Movement to participate but on their own terms then accuse the party of obstructing its formation.
"We do not want to participate! Is it by force?" Bassil asked.
"With this, we affirm, first, that we want a government, as it is unreasonable for the covenant to want to leave itself without a government. Second, we want a government quickly as it is unreasonable for the covenant to lose the time remaining for it.
“It is not a problem for the country to collapse; what is important for Michel Aoun to fall. Third, we want a government headed by Hariri despite our conviction that he cannot be an agent for reform, which is why we did not name it but after it was named against our wish.
He asked, "What do we want then today? First we want a government; secondly, quickly; thirdly, headed by Saad Hariri, and fourthly without us. Let him please take responsibility. He is responsible, not us, for forming a government without us, and to stop wasting time. Let it be formed by capable specialists, on the basis of justice and the constitution, and not at the whim of some. "
"Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri is unable to undertake reforms so we did not nominate him. Now we have an interest in forming a government and he has to assume responsibility with the President after he fled in October 2019," Bassil said.
BREAKING THE AGREEMENT
● Breaking from the agreement that we had on the table with the French president, which is known as the French initiative. Firstly, we agreed on a government and we agreed on Ambassador Mustafa Adib for the presidency.
● He was removed by those who he could not bear just as they had ousted three heads of government that we had agreed upon: Muhammad Safadi, Bahij Tabbara and Samir Al-Khatib.
● After that, he broke jurisdiction and ran for himself. He said from Baabda Palace that he does not accept any partisan suggestion that the president was asking for this. Well, we all agreed on the issue of specialists; no one is asking otherwise and no one broke the rule except him. Secondly, we agreed on a government for a specific period. Everyone now knows that he disregarded that specified period and the conditions that he set indicates that the government will remain until parliamentary elections. Third, we agreed on the specific program.
● Where is the program? There are things that do not need a government, rather a parliament and we agree that we can accomplish them without a government. Where is the capital control law? In order not to talk about the laws of public procurement and the independence of the judiciary, this law had to be issued a week after October 17. What prevented it from not being enforced at that time? Simply put, they want the money to keep flowing. This is what happened, and it continues. There was nothing that we did not do to protect people's money so that it would not go abroad. The central bank, parliament and judiciary did not respond to us. The worst of this is that the officials who transferred their money abroad are looking at us for reform and patriotism, from the deputy who wishes death to the people to the institutions.
● "There is something new and serious going on and I advise the ruler to work seriously to recover funds transferred abroad. The Central Bank’s circular to recapitalise banks is a door to reorganising the banking sector, restructuring reserves in foreign currencies, and recovering some money for depositors."
Bassil said: "... he stripped off his face of moderation and returned to brag repeatedly that he stopped the count. We were brought up on the principle that Lebanese Muslims preserve for the Christians their full role, even if they became 1%, because they are convinced that this is the advantage of diversity in Lebanon. And that he Lebanese Christians chose Greater Lebanon to live with Muslims instead of the small homeland, because Muslims give this added value to the big homeland.
Bassil continued: "... in any case, we are sufficient in this battle, even if alone, but we remain united in our conviction, we are obliged to carry the banner of pact and partnership in light of the continued sectarian attacks. We are united because national unity is created from actual partnership. Equity in representation and effective participation leads to the civil state we want. As for injustice and violation of rights, they justify the votes of federalism and even partition, and we do not want them.
FURTHER FROM GOVERNMENT
He added, "As far as we are concerned, the issue has become much more than a governance issue. We are basically unwilling to participate in government; we are not confident ... We have an initiative but the president has nothing to do with it. This concerns us, the movement, In raising the number of ministers from 18 to 20, not to let us take an additional Christian minister to the president. We accept that he takes the additional minister, but not the prime minister, and it is better if they raise the number to 22 or 24 in order to respect the principle of competence, so that one minister does not receive two ministries that have nothing to do with one another. Secondly, with regard to the bags, we insist only on fairness and balance in the distribution of bags of all categories. Third, with regard to naming, we want one principle that applies to all. Adopt the principle you want.”
He continued: "If you also do not agree to this proposal, we have a second proposal. Keep us away from everything related to forming the government, and take our confidence in the parliament in exchange for our conditions for reform. What we care about from this government is reform, not our participation. Give us reform and take it- the government."
“This is a fair exchange. You take what matters to you and we take what matters to us. Secure reforms for us and we accept, but we do not want promises and guarantees, we want to pay in advance, and this is how we satisfy all the Lebanese because reform is for all the Lebanese, from north to south and east to west.
"We are all confident, and the last message of the Pope indicates that there is some international awareness of the importance of our role and our mission in the region. We are the bearers of this message and the guards of balance and partnership in the country, and if we were to pay the price on our own, but this price is offset by the salvation of Lebanon and the protection of its existence. "
Regarding the American sanctions against him, the MP said, "Whoever considers me part of the system, I remind him that I have been subjected to unjust sanctions and placed on the OFAC list. If I had a penny, a share, or a property anywhere abroad, it would have been revealed and the whole nation would have known."