Gemayel Says Kataeb Heading Towards Electoral Confrontation Alongside Opposition Stalwarts

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Gemayel Says Kataeb Heading Towards Electoral Confrontation Alongside Opposition Stalwarts

Kataeb leader Samy Gemayel Sunday stressed that the discretionary policy adopted by the ruling authority has become apparent and undeniable amid the suppressing acts it is masterminding, saying that nothing will change unless people revolt against the current status quo.

“Why weren't all those who cast doubt over the authority's corruption referred to the judiciary just like me? It is because I am being politically targeted,” Gemayel said in an interview on New TV.

“I assure the Justice Minister [Selim Jreissati] that I will be working without any limits from now on,” he vowed. “The impertinent approach you are adopting reminds us of an era that has gone for good."

The Kataeb leader affirmed that he will keep on saying the truth no matter what, saying that he had the right to express his concern and fears over Lebanon's natural wealth after that only one bidder had been approved in the oil exploration tender process.

“Why weren't my statements regarding the power barges deal also referred to the judiciary? Is it because they know that I have watertight evidence proving its corruption?” he asked.

Gemayel stressed that the upcoming parliamentary polls will serve as an opportunity for the Lebanese to stop the ongoing erroneous policy, saying that whoever is preventing accountability, undermining sovereignty and dashing democracy is contributing to the destruction of the country.

“They are seeking to rig the upcoming elections by intimidating and muzzling the free people so that the Lebanese would not hear the truth.”

“We don't distinguish between the components of the ruling authority as we object to the entire system. We are open to anyone who decides to join the opposition's ranks,” he said.

Gemayel hoped that the Lebanese would relinquish their stubbornness and blind affiliations, saying that what matters to him as a lawmaker is to be assessed based on his stances and vision.

“Liberate yourselves from all constraints when you will go to cast your ballot; vote in accordance with your convictions and aspirations,” Gemayel said addressing the Lebanese. "Do not get tempted by electoral bribes. It is your right to get services in return for the taxes you pay. Do not let anyone make these services look as favors, because they are your basic rights."

“I call on the Lebanese to assume their responsibility by contributing to the much-aspired change that we have always sought in this country,” he added.

Gemayel noted that a clear vision regarding electoral alliances will be articulated by early February, adding that the Kataeb party will be fighting its electoral battle alongside civil society groups.

"We are heading towards a confrontation against the prevailing policy. We shall work hand in hand with whoever is convinced of our opposition."
The Kataeb leader stressed that the ruling authority is living in another world as it is totally disconnected from what the Lebanese are enduring in their daily lives, saying that the state should not dissociate itself from issues that concern Lebanon's sovereignty.

“I am convinced that the performance of the current ruling authority will not lead to anything positive,” he warned. “Relinquishing sovereignty and basing politics on partitioning is not the right way to build the country,"

Gemayel stressed that his stance is one and the same in Lebanon and abroad, saying that the state's decision-making power has been hijacked and democracy has been paralyzed.

“In my meetings abroad, I express the same stances that I say openly in Lebanon,” he affirmed.

“Unfortunately, Lebanon's defensive strategy is not being discussed and decided by the government. This was clearly proved during the border battles against terrorist groups that took place over the summer,” he noted.

“It wasn't the state who decided when and how the battle against terrorist groups should be fought; it wasn't even involved in the negotiations that happened,” he added. “Did any of the ministers approve the deal that secured the swap deal with ISIS and allowed militants to leave unpunished?"

The Kataeb leader reiterated that it is the people's right to know who allowed criminal ISIS militants to cross the border into Syria in air-conditioned buses, saying that it is also their right to know how things are being done and managed in the state.

Gemayel outlined the need for a minimum level of respect between the Lebanese for them to build their country together, deeming equality as indispensable.

"Equality is key to building the country as all the Lebanese, with no exception, should abide by the rule of law,” he said. “We want real partnership when it comes to determining Lebanon's fate and deciding how the country should be defended.”

Gemayel stressed that the Kataeb’s problem with Hezbollah is not based on sectarianism, saying that the issue lies in the party's illegal arms, violation of Lebanon's Constitution and sovereignty as well as suppression of the freedom of other local factions.

“Is it acceptable that Hezbollah chief decides the country’s defensive strategy, while the government keeps mum and remains idle?” he asked.

“Isn't there anyone other than Hezbollah chief to tell us what is the Lebanese state's plan and strategy to face threats?” he added. “What is the state's stance regarding the fact that there is a local faction that has its own, separate defensive strategy? Doesn't the government have any stance regarding the recent visits made by foreign militants to Lebanon?"

Gemayel renewed his call for integrating Hezbollah's capabilities and arms into the Lebanese Army, stressing that it is the exclusive duty and right of the state, not a certain party or sect, to defend the country.

“The biggest mistake that we made was accepting to be part of previous governments with only one minister who logically cannot change anything alone,” he said. “When we got to have three ministers in the previous government, the Kataeb party was constantly attacked and cornered so as to suppress its influence and prevent it from making any change."

Gemayel reiterated that the Kataeb party wouldn't have resigned from a government in which it had three ministers and wouldn't have voted against Aoun for president had it sought power.

The Kataeb chief deemed the ongoing row between President Michel Aoun and Speaker Nabih Berri over the officers promotion decree as politically driven, saying that it is illogical that the whole country has to suffer each time ties between the country's top leaders get bad.

“Unfortunately, the country's affairs are linked to partitioning; solutions are constantly pending under-the-table agreements between officials,” he said. “Personal interests are being favored over the country's welfare."

Asked about ties with the Lebanese Forces, Gemayel said that the party is obviously not satisfied with the government's performance and does not approve all the decisions being made, pointing out that talks with LF have yet to discuss any electoral alliance.