Lebanon’s Hezbollah said today, Sunday, that it sees no reason to postpone the parliamentary elections scheduled for May, just as Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi saw that former Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s decision to boycott the elections should not be used as an excuse to postpone it.
Naim Qassem, deputy leader of Hezbollah, said, in a speech, that “all indications are that the parliamentary elections will take place on time, and there is no development that prevents these elections from taking place.”
Qassem added that Hezbollah does not expect the elections to result in different results from the results of the 2018 elections, and he also ruled out what he described as expectations that the parliament would turn upside down.
Qassem said that opinion polls across Lebanon showed that “the results of the elections will be close to the composition of the current parliament, with minor changes that do not affect the general structure of this parliament.”
He continued, “They say, ‘He who builds many hopes, put your feet on the ground.”
The 2018 elections resulted in Hezbollah and its allies, including Aoun, obtaining a majority, while Hezbollah’s opponents hope to change the situation.
On the other hand, Patriarch Al-Rahi said that he was surprised by Hariri’s decision to withdraw, adding, “We would like the Sunni community to remain enthusiastic about the elections…so that the elections come expressing the position of all the Lebanese.”
During Sunday mass in the Church of Our Lady of the Patriarchal Monument in Bkerke (east), Al-Rahi said that Hariri’s retreat had raised concern and protest among the Sunni community, which he described as “an essential partner in the national partnership”, expressing his hope that Hariri’s decision will be circumstantial.
Referring to Hariri’s decision, Al-Rahi said, “It is not allowed for some to invoke the new reality and promote the postponement of the parliamentary elections,” without referring to anyone in particular.
The Patriarch added, “Given the importance of this parliamentary entitlement, we must all confront attempts to circumvent it… The elected parliament will elect the new president of the republic.”
And last Monday, Hariri, 51, announced the suspension of his political work and not to run for the upcoming elections, or to submit any nominations from the Future Movement he leads.
Hariri considered that there is no room for any positive opportunity for Lebanon in light of Iranian influence, international confusion, national division, sectarianism and state weariness, as he described it.
No major party has yet called for the elections to be postponed, and President Michel Aoun said yesterday that he did not see a reason for the delay, but observers believe that the postponement may be appropriate for a number of key players if they feel that the elections can topple them.