(Photo credit: Aziz Taher/Reuters)
In his first speech since long-awaited parliamentary elections, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah praised the electoral process and called for an end to political quarrels to help Lebanon overcome its various crises.
“Crises can only be solved through partnership and cooperation, away from rivalries, so let’s reach points of agreement and cooperation,” the Hezbollah chief said on 18 May.
Since the last elections in 2018, Lebanon has endured the collapse of the Lebanese lira, hyperinflation, and a crippling energy crisis, with blackouts that can last for up to 23 hours a day.
Nasrallah said that securing fuel, electricity, and food for the people of Lebanon must be prioritized.
In reference to the fact that no political alliance won enough votes to form a majority government, Nasrallah said that: “No team alone can remedy the financial, monetary, economic, and life crises in the country, even if it obtains the parliamentary majority. When no one has the majority, that means everyone is responsible and no one is allowed to abandon responsibility.”
The resistance chief also criticized Lebanon’s highly complex electoral system, saying it does not allow for true representation of the popular will.
“The division of the districts should be changed and replaced with making Lebanon a single electoral district,” he insisted.
Under the French-imposed system, Lebanon is divided into 15 electoral districts, which are distributed based on religious denomination. These are then divided into 26 sub-districts in order to create equilibrium among the different sects.
However, Nasrallah believes that under a gerrymandered system such as this, the results cannot be proportional to a candidate’s real popular support. He also called for lowering the vote age from 21 to 18 years in order to provide a fairer election.
Elsewhere in his speech, the Hezbollah chief said the success of polls on 15 May brought to light the many lies promoted by western-backed groups and the US embassy, who proclaimed that the resistance bloc sought to postpone the election, or that the elections were held under Iranian influence.
“We saw the American embassy and the electoral lists that were made there. We saw the Saudi ambassador and the bags of money that were spent.”
Highlighting that both the Saudi and US ambassadors toured polling places on 15 May, the resistance leader asked: “Have you ever seen the Iranian ambassador in our elections or any employee of the Iranian embassy interfering?”
Nasrallah continued his speech by expressing hopes that the newly-elected parliament will not take long to form a government.
He also said that the members of the ‘Loyalty to Resistance’ bloc will soon start preparing draft laws reflecting their election offers.
Finally, the Hezbollah chief urged supporters to refrain from holding provocative rallies and chanting sectarian slogans that could create further divisions in Lebanon.