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US seeking to impose its favorable president upon Lebanon: Hezbollah’s religious council head

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)
Sheikh Mohammad Yazbek, the head of the religious council of Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement (Photo by al-Manar television network)

The head of the religious council of Hezbollah resistance movement says the United States is seeking to impose a president on Lebanon who will serve the best interests of Washington and the Tel Aviv regime amid a political stalemate in the crisis-ridden Arab country.

“While the miseries and suffering of the Lebanese nation are increasing, the doors of reform, dialogue, understanding and agreement remain shut. There would be no way out of the current situation unless the doors are opened,” Sheikh Mohammad Yazbek during his Friday prayer sermon.

He underlined the need for convergence, agreement and responsibility in order to elect a capable Lebanese president to succeed former president Michel Aoun, stating that the next head of state must not back off from the Lebanese people's national rights even an iota, and should be able to implement reform and rescue Lebanon from the worsening economic  crisis through close cooperation with all branches of the government.

Sheikh Yezbek added that the Lebanese are themselves capable of electing a president and building their own country, noting that one should only trust those who are preoccupied with the homeland and its sovereignty.

“The Lebanese should elect a president who will save the country from existing crises, would not raise challenges and conflicts that would serve the Israeli enemy, and would not exacerbate differences. Given the fact that there is no parliamentary majority in the country, there is no best option other than dialogue and understanding among different parties to elect the next president,” the senior Hezbollah official emphasized.

“Obstinacy, malice and tension creation will never result in election of a president; but will rather create more crises in the country. Today's priority is dialogue and consensus, and those who refuse negotiations should realize that the president cannot be elected without broad agreement. The parties which reject dialogue are responsible for prolongation of presidential vacuum in the country.

Lebanese lawmakers failed on Thursday for the ninth time to elect a new president after the post was vacated on October 31.

The vote was attended by 105 lawmakers in the 128-member parliament.

Candidate Michel Moawad, a senior lawmaker whose father Rene Moawad was a former president, received 39 votes, well short of the figure needed to win the first round. A candidate needs two-thirds of the vote, or 86 lawmakers, to make it through the first stage. An absolute majority is needed in subsequent rounds.

A total of 39 lawmakers cast blank ballots. The other votes went to other candidates.

Speaker Nabih Berri set the next round of voting for December 15. The previous sessions were held weekly.

Lebanon’s presidency has seen stalemate several times since the 1975-1990 civil war. The country has also had only a caretaker government since May.

The Arab country has been mired in an economic crisis that the World Bank has dubbed one of the worst in recent history, which comes amid crippling sanctions imposed by the US and its allies.

The Lebanese pound has lost more than 95 percent of its value on the black market since 2019.

According to the United Nations, the ongoing financial crisis in Lebanon has caused poverty rates to reach more than 80 percent of the population, and food prices have risen by an astonishing 2,000 percent. 

Creditors under the US influence such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have conditioned the release of billions of dollars in emergency loans to specific reforms which many observers would make the country dependent on the West.

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