BEIRUT — Hezbollah's No. 2, Naim Qassem, reiterated Sunday that his party is committed to the organization of the May 15 legislative elections, describing the polls as "an essential step to get Lebanon out of the dead end" in which it finds itself. However, he claimed that based on polls his party has conducted, the elections should not lead to major changes in the distribution of seats in Parliament.
Qassem also lashed out at the Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea, accusing the Christian's party's head of having a "history of crimes and murders."
"All indicators seem to show that the elections will take place on the scheduled date and that no development will prevent them from being held," Qassem said at a ceremony in Bezourieh in South Lebanon, questioning why some parties are sowing doubts about this.
Regarding the results of the elections, he said that the party has conducted polls throughout the country and that "so far, it seems that the future Parliament will be very similar to the current one, with small changes that will not impact its overall structure. The "independents, civil society and groups linked to the American Embassy will only get a small number of votes," he predicted.
However, the elections are "an essential step to get Lebanon out of the current dead end," he added, saying that his party is "enthusiastic" that the polls will take place. He stressed, in this context, that the electoral machine and the program of Hezbollah are ready and will be announced shortly, stating that this program will be based on two main axes: the protection of the country through resistance and the construction of the state. Criticizing groups the Shiite party claims oppose the project of resistance to Israel, he said that they "place Lebanon in a situation of submission to the interests" of the Hebrew state and normalization.
In this context that Qassem attacked with virulence the LF, which has made resistance to Hezbollah's program its hobbyhorse.
"Our project is the fight against Israel, and we will not accept to oppose some inside the country who want to provoke sedition. We know that the LF is a group that has a history filled with crimes and murders of members of their community and their own country, that they … are not fit for nation building," he said.
Qassem said, moreover, that his party had never intended to replace the state, justifying the various services offered to members of his community, such as deliveries of Iranian fuel oil or health campaigns organized in some regions, as an "obligation" to the population.
The No. 2 of the Iran-backed party denounced, moreover, an "international decision according to which the recovery plan for Lebanon should not be approved before the elections" in May, explaining the slow pace of government discussions surrounding this plan. Nagjb Mikati's cabinet resumed its meetings last week after a three-month paralysis due to a boycott of the executive by ministers affiliated with Hezbollah and the Amal Movement, who were tying any government meeting to a decision on the fate of the investigation into the Aug. 4, 2020 explosion.
The recovery plan, as well as the national budget, are among the prerequisites expected by the international community and the International Monetary Fund to grant aid to Lebanon, which has been sinking for more than two years in a serious financial and socio-economic crisis.
This article was originally published in French in L'Orient-Le Jour.
BEIRUT — Hezbollah's No. 2, Naim Qassem, reiterated Sunday that his party is committed to the organization of the May 15 legislative elections, describing the polls as "an essential step to get Lebanon out of the dead end" in which it finds itself. However, he claimed that based on polls his party has conducted, the elections should not lead to major changes in the distribution of seats in...