Kataeb Chief Says Ready for Public Debates: Let People Judge!

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Kataeb Chief Says Ready for Public Debates: Let People Judge!

Kataeb leader Samy Gemayel Thursday accused the political authority of using its power to pass shady deals, deploring the fact that the government has been turned into a council that only approves agreements sealed outside of it.

“Had I been in the ministers' place, I would have resigned for the recent meeting held at the Baabda Palace indicates the government's failure,” Gemayel said during an interview on LBCI.

"It is hard to enforce accountability as deals are being sealed in closed-door meetings."

“The Kataeb party is aspiring to build a country where transparency and honesty prevail,” he added. “The party’s policy is based on speaking up against wrongdoings and saying the truth.”

“Since I took the helm at the Kataeb party, I decided to restore the people's trust by being honest to myself first,” he stated. "I chose to go into politics in order to make a change."

Gemayel affirmed that the party has nothing personal against anyone in politics, pointing out that a politician should be judged based on his project and stances, not on personal grounds.

“Anyone who is allowing the country to be ruled as it is today is held responsible,” he said, noting that the problem is with the way the political authority is managing the country.

Gemayel suggested that televised debates would take place between the heads of political parties, adding that it would be up to the people to decide who to vote for in the upcoming parliamentary polls.

"I am ready to take part in public debates on contentious issues. Let the people judge."

The Kataeb chief said that he would have loved to see Prime Miniter Saad Hariri making a real change and introducing much-aspired reforms, saying that it would be a pleasure to see the latter standing by the Kataeb's side in order to develop the country.

Gemayel also lashed out at the political authority for trying to dash the opposition's credibility, deeming the recent oppressive assault on protesters in Beirut as a negative sign on the condition of democracy and freedom in Lebanon.

The Kataeb leader reiterated that there was no reason to extend the Parliament's term and delay the polls,
adding that the political authority deliberately procrastinated on the vote law issue so as to avert any debate over the tailor-cut system they set out.

Gemayel stated that the approved voting system was not based on a unified criterion because it was premeditatedly tailored to meet the interests of those who devised it, noting that the 15-district proportional voting system, that was initially agreed on in Bkirki, has been tarnished and emptied of its content.

“How did ministers accept to approve such a complicated and unclear electoral law in less than 2 hours?,” Gemayel wondered.

He reaffirmed that the Kataeb party will run for the elections regardless of the adopted voting system, saying that he counts on the people "who must choose between keeping the current situation unchanged or making a real change."

Gemayel criticized plans to issue magnetic electoral cards, arguing that they will pave the way for electoral rigging as it would become harder to monitor and control voting.

“We are considering a challenge to contest the release of electoral magnetic cards.”

Gemayel slammed the threat made by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah to bring foreign militants to take part in any upcoming confrontation with Israel, saying that such a statement entails a supremacy behavior and drags Lebanon further into the unknown.

“Keeping mum on Hezbollah's continuous threats would mean surrendering to this status quo,” he said. “It looks like the political authority has handed Hezbollah full control over Lebanon's sovereignty.”

Gemayel said that President Aoun won't be able to engage in a dialogue with all sides because he has taken sides since the beginning, adding that the latter's impartiality was the main reason why the Kataeb party chose not to vote for him.

“We can't be selective when it comes to neutrality and the dissociation policy,” he said.

The Kataeb leader stressed that the political authority used militia-style tactics to pressure the dubious waste plan by stopping the collection of garbage, saying that his conscience is clear as he did everything he could to avert the waste crisis in Metn.

“The Kataeb party has put forth solutions to each problem facing the country; unfortunately, the political authority is trying to muzzle the opposition."

Gemayel reiterated that the 2017 state budget must not be approved before carrying out a detailed auditing of the previous years, deeming it as unacceptable that the political authority skips and disregards this task.