MP Mario Aoun, of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) of Lebanon’s president, stated on Monday during a televised interview on NBN that President Michel Aoun is not going anywhere, and his presidency will be renewed.
The MP went on to fervently claim that “not extending President Aoun’s mandate is an injustice against him and a portion of the Lebanese population.”
A recent article published in the Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper stated that “legal studies are underway to allow for the extension of Michel Aoun’s term until conditions are met that allow him to pass the presidency to his son-in-law MP Gebran Bassil.”
“The nation seems to forget that Michel Aoun is the president of the Lebanese republic,” Mario Aoun thought to remind the struggling people.
He continued, addressing Saad Hariri, “You are a prime minister-designate, and you say you proposed a list of 18 politicians we have doubts about. Hariri should come forward to the public and expose name by name the politicians in his list.”
Hariri‘s and Aoun’s camps have recently clashed over the president’s constitutional powers with regards to the government formation process.
While Hariri stressed that the president’s role is constrained to only approving the Cabinet lineup, Michel Aoun insisted that the president is an “equal partner” in forming the government.
“At the end of the day, it is Michel Aoun who gets to give his approval on the cabinet formation,” Mario Aoun emphasized the fact that, after all, has been a factor in halting the country to have a government for urgent reforms.
Mario Aoun also expressed his party’s stance on sectarianism in the country, as the government formation process remains deadlocked. He confidently stated that the FPM is not a sectarian party nor do they want a sectarian political system.
“We’re just emphasizing the importance of the president giving his opinion and approval on the formation of the Lebanese government,” Aoun iterated, refuting that the deadlock is about sectarianism.
It is to note that Mario Aoun is the same politician who had received major backlash, during the wildfires of October 2019, after stating that “although it may come off as sectarian, we have to wonder why the fires are reaching Christian areas only.”
Again the FPM official failed to see the reality since, back then, the wildfires wrecked massive areas across all Lebanon, not only the Christian ones.
The current leader of the FPM‘s party, Gebran Bassil, is also known for sectarian stances. His controversial speech at the Christian Persecution’s conference in Budapest in 2019 got him quite a backlash from the Lebanese on social media, notably from the Christians.
He claimed back then at the conference that Christians are leaving Lebanon because of the presence of Syrian refugees, causing ‘the number of Christians to fall by two thirds.’
Moreover, with the majority of the Lebanese protesting against the regime for over a year, including the currently ongoing, it is highly unlikely that the renewal of the term of the president, who will be 87 years old at the end of his term in 2022, will bring any stability to the country or reforms.
It does beg the question of whether Lebanon could handle another term of disasters and crises, which the FPM and its politicians are in denial of.