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Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement says expects parliamentary election on time

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem (Photo by ABNA)

Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement has said it expects the Mediterranean country’s parliamentary election to be held on time in May, days after former Lebanese prime minister Saad al-Hariri said he will not run in the election.

“All indications are that the parliamentary election will take place on time,” Sheikh Naim Qassem, Hezbollah’s deputy secretary general, said in a speech on Sunday, according to Lebanon's al-Manar television network.

“There is no development that prevents these elections from taking place,” he added.

The Hezbollah official emphasized that the upcoming parliamentary election will be an important chance for the Lebanese people to express their opinions, adding that Hezbollah started preparing for the election four months ago.

Last Monday, Hariri said in a televised address that he saw no chance for a positive future for Lebanon “in light of international disarray, national division, sectarianism, and the collapse of the state.”

The leading Sunni Muslim politician said he was suspending his role in power, politics, and parliament, urging members of his political party to do the same.

Meanwhile, Lebanon's President Michel Aoun said on Saturday he saw no reason for an election delay.

On Sunday, Maronite Christian patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rai said Hariri’s move must not be used as an excuse to call for a delay.

Elsewhere in his Sunday remarks, Sheikh Qassem stressed that “we are committed to holding the election and are enthusiastic about it.”

He described the Lebanese resistance movement as a “necessity,” saying the resistance is the basis of the existence of a sovereign, free, and independent Lebanon.

Sheikh Qassem pointed out that “this resistance is not a future project, but rather an existing situation that liberated and gave Lebanon its status.”

“Those who reject the resistance are putting Lebanon in a state of surrender and subordination to the interest of Israel,” the Hezbollah official added.

“We are working to achieve the recovery plan through the Lebanese government, to be a starting point for restoring the financial, economic, and social balance,” Sheikh Qassem added.

Since late 2019, Lebanon has been mired in a deep financial crisis that has caused the Lebanese pound to lose around 90 percent of its value to the US dollar and led its banking system to collapse, plunging the bulk of Lebanese into poverty.

The economic and financial crisis is mostly linked to the sanctions that the United States and its allies have imposed on Lebanon as well as foreign intervention in the Arab nation’s domestic affairs.

Despite the dire economic situation, Sheikh Qassem said Hezbollah does not expect the elections to yield a result much different from 2018, when the resistance group and its allies won the majority of seats in the parliament.

Hezbollah opinion polls across Lebanon showed “the results of the election will be close to the make-up of the current parliament, with slight changes that do not affect the general make-up,” he said.

“Therefore we say to those who have high hopes: ‘put your feet on the ground’,” added Sheikh Qassem.

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