February 4, 2023

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BEIRUT: The Free Patriotic Movement (CPL)’s anger at interim Prime Minister Najib Mikati, who convened a cabinet session on Monday, has led to an upsurge in relations between the party and its ally Hezbollah.

CPL president Gebron Basil expressed his anger at the “expanded decentralization even without laws” at a press conference on Tuesday.

Hizbullah and the Amal movement provided political cover for Mikati to call a cabinet meeting to approve the process of obtaining dialysis or drugs for cancer patients, which Mikati considers an absolute necessity.

In order to prevent Mikati from exercising the powers of the Christian president, the CPL refuses to hold any session of the cabinet due to the presidential vacancy, especially since the movement believes that the caretaker government has no right to play this role.

Eight attempts to elect a president in Lebanon’s parliament have failed since President Michel Aoun’s term ended a month early, as the country grapples with a devastating economic crisis.

Basil, Aoun’s son-in-law, has indirectly put himself forward as a presidential candidate, given that his parliamentary group is the largest Christian group and has the right to nominate a future president.

Bassil rejects former minister Sleiman Franki’s candidacy for the post backed by Hezbollah and Amal.

In a press conference, Bassil flagged Monday’s ministerial meeting as “unconstitutional, illegal and unusual”, describing it as “a death blow to the implementation of the Constitution and the Taif Agreement”.

CPL ministers boycotted the cabinet session, except Industry Minister George Bouchkian, who confirmed the quorum for the session. His behavior disowned his party, the CPL ally, Tuchnak, for not honoring the decision to boycott the session.

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The CPL website stated that “Hezbollah contributes to the normalization of the vacuum and the attack on the presidency”.

“If anyone thinks that they are pressuring us on the issue of the presidency, we want to tell them that it will not work,” Bassil said, referring indirectly to Hezbollah.

“Unless we see a great national need, we will not attend the parliamentary sessions and we will try to quickly abandon the blank vote and choose a presidential candidate,” he added.

MP Michael Moussa, a member of the Development and Liberation Parliamentary Constituency led by Speaker of Parliament Nabih Perry, dismissed the possibility of a change in the political map at the level of the presidential elections. Cabinet. “Not electing a new president contributes to deepening these conflicts,” he said.

Moussa stressed the need for serious and effective dialogue between all parties to defuse tensions and elect a president.

Hezbollah declined to comment on Bassil’s statements.

MP Bilal Abdullah, a member of the Democratic Rally constituency, said: “One party has tried and failed to raise sectarian discourse. Hezbollah did not respond.

A political observer, who wished to remain anonymous, revealed: “By participating in the cabinet session, Hezbollah tried to reassure Basil that he was not alone in that space.”

The Sovereign Front for Lebanon, which opposes Hezbollah, insisted that members of parliament remain in parliament until a new president is elected for the good of the country and the constitution.

This text is a translation of an article published on Arabnews.com