Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea on Sunday said the ” demands of the protesters exceed the reforms proposed by Prime Minister Saad Hariri and called for “a new political life” and a “neutral technocrat cabinet.”
“For the past three years, we have done everything and they were accusing us of obstructing their work. We want the incumbent presidential tenure to be the best presidential tenure in Lebanon and we wanted Hariri’s government to make achievements,” Geagea said in an interview with al-Jadeed television, hours after he announced the resignation of the LF’s four ministers.
“It is no longer beneficial to take part in the government, which can no longer do anything. A new and different government must be named,” Geagea added, noting that the LF “took part in only two governments” and that even rivals acknowledge his party’s “integrity.”
“We opposed all decisions that had to do with people’s plight,” he pointed out.
He added that any technocrat cabinet should be “neutral” and independent from “the current ministerial and parliamentary majority.”
“It should harmonious, unlike the current government which has ‘100 heads,’” Geagea said.
He said that he still expects the resignation of the Progressive Socialist Party’s ministers warning that the coming will be worse” should there be any delay in taking initiatives. He called on Hariri to “seek a new government.”
Asked about the unprecedented protests that have engulfed Lebanon, Geagea said: “The ongoing protests came from the people and as Lebanese Forces, we must be by their side, seeing as it’s too late to talk about zero taxes” in Hariri’s proposed reform paper.
He added: “A reform paper cannot come from a non-reformative government. This government is inefficient and cannot achieve any result.”
PSP conditions for remaining in the cabinet
The Progressive Socialist Party on Sunday announced that its continued participation in Hariri’s incumbent government is “conditional,” hours after the LF declared the resignation of its four ministers.
“The reformist paper presented by PM Hariri is advanced, drastic and truly reformist,” Industry Minister Wael Abu Faour said after meeting Hariri.
“In the name of the PSP, we have added some key points to it, demanding the abolition of some funds, commissions and ministerial budgets and the prosecution of those violating seaside and riverside properties,” he added.
PSP also called for “shutting down unbeneficial embassies and consulates and appointing a regulatory commission and a board of directors for Electricite du Liban during the Cabinet’s next session,” Abu Faour said.
“We demanded the abolition of all benefits going to presidents, MPs, ministers and governmental employees and officials and suggested a halt to all forms of wasting public funds and corruption in tenders, as well as the shutting down of all councils and funds, especially the fund of the internally displaced, the Council for Reconstruction and Development, the High Relief Committee and the South Council,” he added.
“Our continued presence in the government is conditional on the implementation of these reforms,” he said.
PSP leader Walid Jumblatt was expected initially to withdraw his ministers from the cabinet in line with the LF decision but the U turn came the last minute after PSP submitted its demands for reforms to Hariri