Change and Reform bloc leader MP Michel Aoun launched another attack against Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt during a ceremony on Saturday marking the seventh anniversary of his return from exile in France.
Aoun served as the acting prime minister From September 22 , 1988 to October 13, 1990 when he was defeated by the Syrian army. Aoun then went into exile in France and returned to Lebanon in May 2005 days after the Syrian army withdrew from Lebanon.
“Yesterday Jumblatt said that [the Free Patriotic Movement] was an absurd movement,” Aoun said, retorting, “I think that the limits of logic stop at him and do not extend to anyone else.”
“[Jumblatt] said that he spent 25 years lying to the Syrian regime, so how are we supposed to trust that he is going to be truthful with us?” Aoun asked.
In an interview with the newly launched www.mo5tar.com website Jumblatt said he regrets the existence of “an absurd movement , Free Patriotic Movement, led by its leader MP Michel Aoun,” adding “unfortunately, Hezbollah is being [indulgent] with [the FPM leader].”
Aoun also attacked Jumblatt for rejecting the proposed electoral law based on adopting proportionality for the 2013 parliamentary elections.
“Jumblatt is now saying that proportionality is aimed against the Druze, and by doing that he is agitating the Druze sensitivities.”
Aoun added that the adoption of an electoral law based on proportional representation would reflect Jumblatt’s real political weight.
Aoun wrapped up his criticism of Jumblatt by saying that the latter “lived for lying.”
In the same interview Jumblatt was criticizing Hezbollah and Aoun for insisting on proportional representation. Jumblatt according to the interview is concerned that such an electoral law will spell the end of all centrists in Lebanon including himself, president Michel Suleiman and PM Nagib Mikati.
Jumblatt’s biggest problem according to a political analyst is not proportional representation but the size of the electoral district.
Hezbollah and Aoun are calling for one electoral district for the whole country. Since the minorities in Lebanon account for a small fraction of the total population, Jumblatt is concerned that the voters in areas like Baalbek, Tyre, Bint Jbeil, Marjayoun , Zahrani and Nabatieh the predominately Shiite areas where Hezbollah completely dominates the political scene , will determine the final outcome in Druze areas like the Shouf and and Aley where Jumblatt is strong.
Closest to Democracy
Aoun defended the regime in Syria and said it is the closest thing to democracy.
“Yes, Syria is the closest to democracy and [I say it] without shame.” Aoun said . He said he is optimistic that the regime in Syria will not fall
Aoun borrowed the line from Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rai who said last April : ” Syria was the closest thing to democracy in the Arab world”
“Reaching an outcome in Syria similar to the one in Libya is impossible, however [much] Europe and the United States try,” adding that the Syrian people “are solid and possess a state with a solid structure.”
Aoun also slammed the Arab countries for supporting the rebels in their efforts to topple the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“Do the countries that call for the respect of human rights in Syria respect human rights themselves? Do women [in these countries] have rights?” He asked
“Even the churches built in these countries cannot display crosses on their towers,” Aoun said, adding that “the revolts in the Arab world are not an ‘Arab Spring’, but an “Arab hell.”
Admitting that Assad is in trouble , he warned against the “transfer of the crisis to Lebanon” if the Syrian regime were to fall.
Syria’s protests started peacefully in March of last year, but a government crackdown spawned violence that has left thousands dead and prompted some military defectors to take up arms against the regime forces. The government has consistently blamed the violence on “armed terrorists.”
The United Nations estimates that at least 9,000 people have died in the conflict while opposition groups put the death toll at more than 11,100.
Aoun also criticized the March 14 opposition and the recent visit of US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman.
“As long as the minutes of the meetings [between March 14 personalities and Feltman] are kept secret then that is treason and a conspiracy.”
Feltman arrived in Beirut on Tuesday evening and left on Friday after holding meetings with top Lebanese officials as well as figures from the March 14 coalition.
Aoun saved his harshest criticism for president Suleiman;
“The president has a problem with himself,” Aoun said accusing the Lebanese President of “disrupting the work of the state.”
Aoun and Suleiman used the Twitter and Facebook social networks to attack each other last week.
Aoun said on April 28 that future Lebanese president should head a “parliamentary bloc with ministers representing him.”
Aoun also criticized the idea of a consensual Lebanese president.
“Experience does not encourage [us] to accept a consensual president again.”
President Suleiman responded on the same day by slamming Aoun over the issue of consensual Lebanese president.
“At least, a consensual president does not beg for the presidency; on the contrary everyone asks him to accept it,” Suleiman said on his social networking site Facebook page.
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