‘Void’ better than Aoun’s presidential term: Ex PM Siniora

File photo of Former Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora

Former Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora has expressed pessimism on the situation in Lebanon amid a total absence of signs on possible change in the near future. 

He sees that Hezbollah’s power grip has increased and that President Michel Aoun lives in complete denial.

“The phase when Lebanon had witnessed a presidential vacuum was better than (Aoun’s) term,” Siniora said, adding that the Lebanese government lacks any vision.

On the final response of political figures concerning their participation in the “comprehensive national meeting” scheduled for June 25 to discuss the political, economic and financial crises, Siniora said, “There is still no final decision about attending it. We are waiting to see the agenda of the meeting.”

In talks with representatives of media outlets, including Asharq Al-Awsat, the Sunni leader said the current situation in Lebanon requires decisive action.

“We reject to take part in efforts of polishing President Aoun’s term, (and the actions of ) the Prime Minister, Hezbollah and MP Gebran Bassil,” he said. 

Siniora said that the government of PM Hassan Diab has failed to make any achievements. “Their decisions and wrong measures helped worsen the woes of the Lebanese people,” he said. 

Commenting on the attempts to remove Central Bank (BDL) Governor Riad Salameh from his post, the former PM said that Diab helped Hezbollah have a say in the bank’s affairs through the government’s recent appointment of BDL deputy governors. 

“Hezbollah’s grip is deepening and increasing,” he said, adding that this would not lead to stability or confidence in the state.

People carry a Hezbollah flag with a picture of newly elected Lebanese President Michel Aoun stuck on it, in the Haret Hreik area, southern suburbs of Beirut, Lebanon October 31, 2016.

Siniora explained that the value of the deteriorating Lebanese currency will not improve by placing the responsibility of its deep plunge on only certain parties. 

“There’s no confidence in the state and its measures. The President is in denial and unable to see the level the country has reached,” he said. 

Commenting on the Caesar Act, a US legislation that imposes dire sanctions on the Syrian regime, and its repercussions on Lebanon, Siniora said, “(Hezbollah) got us here and it is taking the country to a bigger collapse.”

Asharq Al-Awsat