Aoun: Nothing will prevent elections set for spring
BEIRUT: Parliamentary elections set for next spring will be held and “no one is capable of stopping this” President Michel Aoun said Thursday.
Aoun said that efforts that went into creating a new law for elections slated for May 2018, which will be using proportional representation for the first time Lebanon’s history, would not go to waste.
“Rest assured that the elections will take place and this is the will of the people and the government. No one has the ability today to stop this,” Aoun said during a meeting with representatives of nationalist and leftist parties, including Hezbollah and the Free Patriotic Movement.
The president added: “Those who have control over the decision are driving toward making this happen.”
With the second tax hike law being passed after the state’s Constitutional Council annulled the first, Aoun said the situation of state institutions is on the right track. “From the Lebanese Army to the security forces, to diplomatic appointments, which are almost done, and the judiciary,” the president added.
“We hope the improvement happens in other areas, especially now that the different makeups of Lebanese society are represented by this new electoral law,” Aoun said.
The president added that the stage was set for change that has been long called for by the Lebanese people. “They are now called upon to do this.”
Discussing the government’s accomplishments during its first 10 months, Aoun said this would accomplish the recovery of Lebanon’s sovereignty and independence. “We talked about this on our trips to Arab countries from the beginning of our term.”
Turning to wars that have taken place in the region, Aoun recalled that from the July 2006 War, “Lebanon [kept] itself free [after 2006 during a conflict in which] Israel didn’t have the goal of invading ... but rather wanted to incite internal strife.”
Aoun stressed Lebanon’s full commitment to U.N. Resolution 1701. “We are abiding by [it] and Israel is breaching it and threatening us ... by trying to convince the international community to [go] against us,” Aoun said.
He added that Lebanon would no longer remain silent regarding Israel’s daily violations of Lebanese airspace and maritime borders.
As for the refugee crisis due to the bloody conflict in neighboring Syria, Aoun reiterated Lebanon’s calls for refugees to return to their homeland. However, he stressed that calling for them to return, “doesn’t mean expelling them, rather the necessity to work on securing their safety in their motherland because Lebanon is no longer able to handle the burden related to the ongoing presence of Syrian refugees on [Lebanese soil].”