Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Lebanon’s Political Crisis Grows, FPM Threatens Escalation | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page
Media ID: 55357894

Pigeons fly in front of the parliament square in downtown Beirut, Oct. 25, 2012. (photo by REUTERS/Jamal Saidi )

Beirut-Lebanon’s political crisis is set to grow further after the Free Patriotic Movement, which is founded by MP Michel Aoun, decided to boycott cabinet sessions, a day after the national dialogue suspended its meetings, joining the already paralyzed parliament and the presidency that has been vacant for more than two years.

The country is on the verge of collapse unless foreign powers interfere to solve its political crisis.

Speaker Nabih Berri has recently said that the differences between several officials at the national dialogue, which he was chairing in the absence of a president, were “the most dangerous since the end of the war” in 1990.

Berri warned that the growing problems would take the country into another civil war.

Contacts between different officials were activated on Tuesday in an attempt to postpone the cabinet session that is scheduled for Thursday to avoid further escalation.

Premiership sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that there are “ongoing contacts and that Prime Minister Tammam Salam could postpone the session to pave way for more consultations.”

Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas said in remarks to a local radio station that efforts were being exerted to bridge the gap with the FPM.

The movement and its ally the Tashnag Party boycotted the last cabinet session to protest the extension of the terms of security officers.

The FPM stressed that holding sessions in its absence would result in the violation of the National Pact.

It seems that a proposal made by Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea to elect Aoun as president and appoint the head of Future Movement Saad Hariri as prime minister was not welcomed by the rival politicians.

Each party, mainly the so-called Hezbollah, is holding onto its own stance. Hezbollah continues to boycott sessions aimed at electing a president, while Future is adamant to elect Marada Movement Suleiman Franjieh.

An LF source told Asharq Al-Awsat that Geagea’s initiative came “in an attempt to salvage the Republic. But unfortunately there seem to be no immediate solutions.”

The LF does not hold Future responsible for the failure to elect a president, the source said, but urged it to vote for Aoun.

But a Future leader told Asharq Al-Awsat that the movement continues to hold onto Franjieh as a presidential candidate.

“The problem is that Hezbollah is not working seriously to pressure its allies Franjieh and Berri” to resolve the presidential deadlock, the source said.

FPM leader Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil warned on Tuesday that his party would resort to street protests to ensure the implementation of the National Pact’s power-sharing formula.