BEIRUT: President Michel Aoun’s daughter Tuesday revealed the reasons for her absence from Sunday’s rally in support of the president, telling local daily Al Joumhouria that it is illogical to hold a demonstration for oneself.
Claudine Aoun Roukoz told Al Joumhouria in remarks published Tuesday that she had been on a flight to Lebanon at the time of the rally, which saw thousands of supporters of Aoun and his Free Patriotic Movement gather at Baabda Palace.
However, she said that “even if I had been in Lebanon, I would not have personally participated,” asking the rhetorical question: “How can I hold a protest in support of myself?”
Aoun Roukoz heads the National Commission for Lebanese Women, a position which she said made her feel she was “present in all squares and protests.”
She told Al Joumhouria that she was not interested in only attending one specific demonstration, but was with “women in all arenas, whether or not they are those who support the president.”
Sunday’s rally came after more than two weeks of mass protests, in which demonstrators have called for the fall of the government and of Aoun’s presidency. He is currently halfway through his six-year term.
Aoun Roukoz said she “appreciated” all of the FPM and Aoun supporters who attended the rally, “after two weeks of provocations ... insults and roadblocks.” The FPM’s leader, MP and caretaker Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, has been a particular target of protesters’ derogatory slogans.
Nevertheless, she said that she was prepared to “sit at home” away from any official responsibilities if it was in the country’s best interests, because no political party would be exempt if the country collapsed.
“All of us means all of us,” Aoun Roukoz said, an adaptation of the protest chant “all of them means all of them.”
Saad Hariri submitted his resignation last Tuesday, bringing down his government with him. Aoun Roukoz said that the "provocative" names in Hariri's now-caretaker Cabinet should not return in the new one, advising those who are also MPs to instead use their parliamentary positions to "continue their work in public affairs."