BEIRUT — Former Kataeb MP Nadim Gemayel announced on Tuesday his candidacy in Beirut I for the upcoming May 15 parliamentary elections.
Here’s what we know:
• “I have seriously considered renouncing my candidacy for the elections, and much ink was spilled in the press regarding this subject,” said the son of Bashir Gemayel, who was assassinated while president-elect in 1982. “I was looking for a solution to wage the battle,” Nadim Gemayel explained.
• “I decided to be a candidate in Beirut as a matter of continuing a political lineage that goes beyond the parliamentary elections. We will continue this battle, not win or lose a parliamentary seat here or there,” the former deputy said.
• Gemayel described the present Parliament as “counter-productive and dominated by a team incapable of doing anything,” saying “one political party decides everything that is done in the country” — a likely reference to Iran-backed Hezbollah. Gemayel later described this party as “taking its orders from Wilayet al-Fakih [Islamic Iran]” and added that “moral corruption is those who are responsible for the [Aug. 4, 2020 Beirut port blast] and those who described the invasion of Beirut as a ‘blessed day,’” — the latter remark an apparent allusion to the events of May 7, 2008, when Hezbollah took over part of the capital.
• “It is true that I am a candidate in Beirut, but I will carry my campaign in the entirety of Lebanon to liberate the country from the hold in which it is placed,” the cousin of Kataeb head, Sami Gemayel, added.
• After criticizing the Free Patriotic Movement, Nadim Gemayel said, “[the one] who sells sovereignty for the sake of stability, loses both.”
• “Our battle is a true referendum. We’re counting on the Lebanese population and all those who believe in a free, independent and sovereign Lebanon. We’re calling on the real Lebanese to choose and vote for the Lebanon they want, not a Lebanon like Venezuela or North Korea, like some want,” Gemayel added, specifying that voters would be “choosing a country, not a person, a way of life.”
• When asked about the alliances he was planning on forming to compose his Beirut I list of candidates, Gemayel remained evasive, preferring to wait until the end of the candidate submission period at midnight Tuesday. However, the former MP explained that “there is a core list of candidates almost ready” and that their hands were extended to “whomever wants to work with [them],”
• After weeks of hesitation, Nadim Gemayel renounced his earlier decision to not run in the elections following discussions with the Kataeb head and sovereignist Christian cultural association Saydet el-Jabal founder Fares Souaid.
• An MP as part of the Kataeb bloc since 2009, Nadim Gemayel and other deputies from his party resigned following the Aug. 4, 2020 Beirut port blast. He is known for his radical positions against Hezbollah and its arsenal, as well as for his closeness to the Lebanese Forces of Samir Geagea.
• In 2018, Geagea and Samy Gemayel formed a common list. But two months ahead of this year’s polls, the Kataeb, who want to be the spearhead of the opposition, especially since the revolt of October 2019, are maintaining their veto against any electoral alliance with the Lebanese Forces.