These past days, upon two credible Lebanese journalists hinting in statements that President Michel Aoun has the intention to resign, the news spread around like wildfire on social media and across the country. People are wondering how true the statements are. Is there really a possibility that the president intends to resign? Here is the Fact Check:
Claim: President Michel Aoun intends to resign; a reputable journalist who had interviewed him reported it in a tweet and said that the president “meant it” and an article in ‘Al Joumhouriya” news by another reputable journalist also stated it.
Verdict: The presidential palace denied that President Aoun is resigning. Both journalists clarified that their statements were taken out of context.
On December 3rd, Lebanese journalist Samir Kleib, who had previously interviewed the president, tweeted: “President Michel Aoun hinted the possibility of him resigning in case no solution was found.” The lack of context of this tweet caused his words to be twisted as they went around. It led the journalist to tweet another post with a more detailed context, explaining the following:
“To clarify a previous post, I repeat: If the political blockage continues, there is no agreement on a prime minister, and the movement escalates, and not everyone is convinced that assistance is possible even without Prime Minister Hariri. Aoun’s last option may be the threat of resignation. I didn’t say he would resign. It’s just an idea.”
Sami Kleib is a well-known and respectable Lebanese journalist. You might know him as one of the two journalists who conducted a live televised interview with president Michel Aoun about three weeks ago.
In that interview, the Lebanese president stated: “Let the people review my history, and if they don’t like it, I’ll leave.”
Kleib based his tweet on that specific statement by the president, issuing to Al Jadeed that he believes that the president didn’t just say this, but he actually meant it. He also advanced, based on that interview, two important points:
1) that foreign countries are planning on helping Lebanon with its economy only if the new government meets the people’s demands and
2) that it is in the benefit of the president and MPs to say that the work on assigning the new head of the government is almost settled, when in fact there are still some new names being nominated.
The second hint about the president’s resignation came from an article in the newspaper ‘Al Joumhouriya” by the journalist Imad Marmal under the title: “Aoun: I would rather resign than paralyze the covenant.”
It was a specific sentence in that article that caught the attention the most: “Aoun so honestly and clearly stated that he would rather resign than paralyze the covenant.” The circles of the presidential palace in Baabda denied this statement completely.
Imad Marmal explained that the statement was taken out of context and, while the president did say that, it is probably an idea and not to be taken literally. Adding that the right interpretation of this statement is that president Aoun is willing to do whatever it takes to save the covenant and that he is willing to work harder under the current circumstances.
With everything going on in the country right now, words can be twisted and taken out of context, although it seems like there is a willingness on the president’s side to resign, but only if it comes down to it.
Whether there will be a presidential resignation or not, our only hope right now is a clean and honest new government that can save the country and fulfill in all consciousness its duty and responsibility towards the Lebanese nation.