(Photo credit: AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File)
The leader of the US and Saudi-backed Lebanese Forces (LF) party, Samir Geagea, has warned that his group of lawmakers will reject the appointment of anyone allied with Hezbollah to the post of prime minister or president.
He also said the LF will boycott the government if a new consensus cabinet is formed. Geagea’s party won 19 seats in parliament during this year’s elections.
“If it’s a government that includes everyone as usual, of course we won’t approve and we won’t take part. [Hezbollah] shouldn’t celebrate too much,” the Israeli-trained Christian leader said on 1 June.
Geagea went on to add that the rift in parliament could lead to a “major confrontation” between the Islamic resistance movement and the LF.
His warning came one day after the head of the Amal Movement, Nabih Berri, was re-elected as Speaker of the Parliament, a position he has held since 1992.
Earlier this year, Geagea was charged by a military court for his involvement in last year’s deadly shooting of Hezbollah and Amal supporters in the Tayouneh neighborhood of Beirut.
According to the confessions of those detained in connection to the shooting, Geagea’s head of security, Simon Musallam, set up the ambush in Ain al-Rummaneh and Tayouneh on the night of 13 October.
Ahead of this year’s elections, Geagea also pleaded with Saudi Arabia to “return to Lebanon,” just months after the kingdom launched a severe economic siege on the crisis-hit nation.
Geagea’s confrontational comments are a far cry from statements made by the leaders of the Iranian-backed resistance, who have called for political cooperation to help Lebanon overcome an economic meltdown described as the world’s worst in 150 years.
On 29 May, the leader of the resistance bloc in parliament, Muhammad Raad, emphasized Hezbollah’s willingness to work with all parties regardless of political affiliation or ideology.
“We are open to all cooperation, regardless of political or ideological background. And we are ready to cooperate on the basis of the political slogans for combating corruption and reviving the economy,” Raad said.
Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah made similar comments on 20 May, saying that “crises can only be solved through partnership and cooperation, away from rivalries, so let’s reach points of agreement and cooperation.”
“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,” Nasrallah went on to add.