BEIRUT: The government should ban the Baath Party given its refusal to recognize Lebanon as a nation state and the violence carried out by the Syrian authorities against protesters, Elie Mahfouz, a member of the March 14 alliance and head of the Change Movement, said Thursday.
“We call on the government to rescind the Baath Party's license because it's stance and agenda is in contradiction to Lebanon's constitution," Mahfouz said in a statement.
"In light of what's happening the Arab world especially Syria and the fact that this party created [a branch] in Lebanon with an approach that does not align with the civilized culture of Lebanon and its glorious history in respecting human rights," Mahfouz added.
The Baath party was founded in Damascus in 1946 and has been in power in Syria since 1963. It holds representation in the Lebanese Parliament with two MPs including the head of the Baath Party in Lebanon, Assem Qanso. The party also has branches in Yemen, Egypt, Sudan.
The party calls for Arab nationalism and refuses to recognize countries as nation states.
Mahfouz’s statement comes as the Syrian authorities have escalated a violent crackdown on anti-government protesters who had been calling for the overthrow of President Bashar Assad, who is also regional secretary of the Baath Party, since mid-March.
“It was a grave mistake of previous Lebanese governments since the independence to give licenses to parties that do not recognize Lebanon,” Mahfouz added.