Lebanon’s political, economic collapse is inevitable, says Gemayel, calls for state of emergency

SAMI GEMAYELMP Sami Gemayel  the leader of Lebanon’s Kataeb party  warned on Friday that the country was on the verge of political and economic collapse, calling for declaring a state of emergency to “avoid the worst.”

He said during a press meeting that the political course in the country began to change when in 2015 some members of the March 14 coalition retracted their opposition to the election of Michel Aoun as president.

He also accused some of these sides of “surrendering to ‘Hezbollah’”. This ultimately allowed the party to assume control of political life in Lebanon through the government and later a parliamentary majority which it won through the proportional representation electoral law that was originally proposed by the group itself.

Aoun’s election as president in 2016 was a turning point in Lebanon’s history, added Gemayel.

He explained that since his election, “Hezbollah” has seized control of the presidency, government and parliament.

Those who believed that Aoun’s election will lead him to break off his alliance with “Hezbollah” have been proven wrong, he continued.

In fact, he remarked, Lebanon’s problems have been compounded since the party came to power. He explained that “Hezbollah” has cost Lebanon its

“Arab cover” and the United States has also threatened to veto some Lebanese institutions should the party take control of certain ministries.

These threats include stopping aid to the Lebanese army, which Gemayel said would spell “catastrophe” for Lebanon.

On the economic level, the lawmaker warned that “the collapse was only a matter of time,” noting that the public deficit in the first four months of 2018 rose 130 percent compared to last year.

He noted that the poor economy was probably one of the reasons hindering the formation of a new government.

“Either the political powers are unaware of the looming danger or they are stalling in forming a new government to avoid shouldering the responsibility of what will happen,” he added.

“They should, therefore, declare a state of economic emergency before it is too late,” suggested Gemayel.

“Despite the challenges, we will continue with our confrontation and continue to make alternative proposals on various issues. I cannot, however, guarantee that the collapse can be avoided,” especially given that the political powers are seeking ministerial portfolios at the expense of national interests, he added.

“Unfortunately, even if a new government is formed now, nothing will change,” he warned.

In addition, Gemayel criticized some statements by some pro-March 8 figures against some Arab countries, accusing them of trying to drive a wedge between Lebanon and its historic friends.

“We do not want Lebanon to be part of the regional conflict, but we also refuse for it to be used as a platform to attack countries that have played a positive role in its history,” he stressed.

ASHARQ AL AWSAT