BEIRUT: The Future Movement is toughening its stance on the Cabinet formation, including a strong rejection of the Hezbollah-led March 8 alliance’s demand for veto power and the adoption of the controversial tripartite equation, “the Army, the people and the resistance,” as the next government’s policy statement.
In a speech by former Prime Minister Saad Hariri spoken on his behalf during a rally Saturday at the BIEL complex commemorating the first anniversary of the assassination of Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hasan, he blasted the tripartite equation as a formula that sought to destroy the state’s structure.
“They [Hezbollah and its March 8 allies] are demanding the blocking third [veto power in the Cabinet] and upholding the tripartite equation, ‘the Army, the people and the resistance,’ because it undermines the state’s structure, while they keep their eyes on a tripartite political system because it undermines equal power sharing,” Ahmad Hariri, secretary-general of the Future Movement, said on behalf of the former premier.
“But the Future Movement will not accept the blocking third, will not allow the adoption of the destructive tripartite equation, and certainly will not give them [March 8] the chance for a tripartite political system because equal power sharing [between Muslims and Christians] is the foundation of Lebanon.”
March 14 politicians have in the past accused Hezbollah and its allies of seeking to replace the current political system based on an equal power sharing between Muslims and Christians with a tripartite political system founded on power sharing between the Christians, Sunnis and Shiites.
Hariri’s tough remarks were viewed as a response to Hezbollah MP Ali Fayyad, who declared last week that a 9-9-6 Cabinet proposal, which grants veto power to both the March 8 and March 14 camps, was the only way to break the government stalemate.
They were also seen as a response to MP Mohammad Raad, head of Hezbollah’s parliamentary bloc, who warned last week that no government could be formed if it dropped “the Army, the people and the resistance” equation from its policy statement.
The Future Movement and its March 14 allies have rejected this equation and called instead for the Baabda Declaration to be adopted as the new Cabinet’s policy statement.
Hariri scoffed at the repeated March 8 demand for the formation of a national unity government alongside a veto power in the Cabinet: “Which partnership they are talking about when they brandish the sword of blocking this partnership?”
Speakers at the BIEL rally, which was attended by former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, Deputy Parliament Speaker Farid Makari and a number of Future and March 14 lawmakers, lashed out at Syrian President Bashar Assad and Hezbollah.
Hasan, then-head of the Internal Security Forces’ Information Branch, was killed in a car bombing in the Christian district of Ashrafieh on Oct. 19.
Speaking at a ceremony unveiling a statue of Hasan in his hometown of Btouratij in Koura, former ISF chief Gen. Ashraf Rifi said Hasan had paid his life for uncovering a terror plot to destabilize the country by former Minister Michel Samaha and Syrian intelligence official Ali Mamlouk.
“Gen. Hasan saved Lebanon from big strife with his discovery of the Samaha-Mamlouk plot. Hasan and I were aware that we were targeted,” Rifi said.
“The one who assassinated [former premier] Rafik Hariri was aiming at eliminating the country’s political and economic umbrella. And the one who assassinated Wissam al-Hasan was aiming at eliminating this country’s security umbrella,” he said. “Wissam al-Hasan constituted a security umbrella for Lebanon.”
Samaha, Mamlouk and another Syrian officer were charged by a Lebanese military judge last year with plotting terrorist attacks and assassinations in Lebanon.
Siniora met Saturday with Speaker Nabih Berri to discuss the Cabinet crisis and the speaker’s political initiative. Speaking to reporters after the meeting at Berri’s residence in Ain al-Tineh, Siniora described the talks as “good, useful and constructive.” He said he would hold more meetings with Berri.
The meeting comes days before Berri convenes a parliamentary session to elect members of Parliament’s Secretariat-General.
Berri has proposed a five-day conclave of National Dialogue sessions attended by March 8 and March 14 leaders, in addition to Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam, to address contentious issues including the makeup and policy statement of a new Cabinet and a national defense strategy.