As people celebrated Easter, Lebanese President Michel Aoun promised the Lebanese that parliamentary elections will be held and that all preparations are in place.

He attended the Easter Mass at Bkerke, which was led by Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rai.

Aoun expressed his desire for Lebanon’s “resurrection.”
“We are in the midst of a tragic situation in which difficulties have compounded. I’m in the same boat as you, and what happened to you happened to me as well.”

“We desire improved relations with Arab countries, and the return of ambassadors to Beirut is a crucial step in that regard,” the president told the reporters after meeting with Al-Rai before the Mass.

Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi, the Maronite Patriarch, has urged people to vote in the next elections, saying that Lebanon “needs a national, sovereign, and independent parliamentary majority.”
He expressed confidence that the staff-level deal with the International Monetary Fund would “positively effect” Lebanon’s condition, and expressed hope that the papal visit to Lebanon in June would “bring hope” to the country.

“We live in the hope of the resurrection now.” We shall not allow despair to overcome us as long as we are alive.”

Aoun also addressed the Shiite tandem of the Amal movement and Hezbollah without name them, accusing them of hindering the judicial probe into the Beirut Port explosion once again.
“It’s the same parties that are impeding the Cabinet’s work, and you know who they are.” The demands of the martyrs’ families should be addressed to them.”

Last October, Hezbollah and the Amal movement boycotted Cabinet meetings in protest of Judge Tarek Bitar’s dismissal as the investigation into the explosion’s cause.

They resumed attending sessions in mid-January, after crippling Bitar’s work and hammering him with litigation.

Al-Rai urged people to vote in the upcoming elections because Lebanon needed a “national, sovereign, independent”

parliamentary majority that believed in a legitimate state, constitutional institutions, and the Lebanese army as a single source of arms and security, as well as unity in political and military decisions.

If the people fail to recognize the gravity of the situation and elect forces capable of safeguarding Lebanon’s existence and identity while also repairing Lebanon’s Arab and international connections, the people, not the political system, will suffer the brunt of the consequences. Lebanon is fortunate in that democratic change is still possible. The outcome of the elections is determined by the votes of Lebanese citizens. There are no victors or losers who have been selected in advance.

“The greatest risk is deceiving the public into electing a parliamentary majority that does not reflect or meet their goals.” People should recognize that when they elect their legislators, they are also electing the future president, and hence the next republic. The strength of the parliamentary majority in the new parliament will determine Lebanon’s fate.”
“The decision to undertake parliamentary elections, despite attempts to topple them, is consistent with ensuring the election of your successor,” he said to Aoun. “The Lebanese do not want an alternative to the state, and they do not want a partner in the state,” says the president. They long for the day when foreign forces are removed from Lebanon. They want the national interest to take precedence over personal and electoral interests. They wish for a single republic, a single legitimacy, a single weapon, a single decision, and a single Lebanese identity. “Reforms must be linked with extending the state’s jurisdiction over its entire area and uniting arms, in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions.” Respect for the sovereignty of fraternal countries is essential, as is ceasing to agitate against them.”

During the Easter weekend, election campaigns intensified, and the Shiite duo is attempting to win not only the whole Shiite vote in the new parliament, but also a majority through candidates from other sects aligned with them.

On Saturday, members of the Together for Change election list in one of Tyre’s southern constituencies sponsored by the Communist Party, independents, and the civic movement were attacked by persons linked with Hezbollah and the Amal organization. They tried to stop the members from announcing their election program at a restaurant in Sarafand.

“We tried to be in a democratic race, and it turned out that there was no democracy,” candidate Dr. Hisham Hayek remarked. We traveled to Sarafand under the protection of security forces, but we were met by organized gangs of young men who blocked the road and fired at us. What makes you think this is a fair competition? Is the publication of an electoral program a threat to public order?”

“The message they wanted to express by violence is widely received,” candidate Ali Khalifeh remarked. Others’ thoughts, ideas, and projects dedicated to opposing the corrupt power will not be tolerated.”

The Amal movement, as well as its parliamentary caucus, were quick to deny any involvement in the attack, while emphasizing the movement’s desire to hold elections in a “environment of freedom and democratic competition.”

In a ceremony in the midst of the historic Baalbek Citadel, the electoral list of Hezbollah and the Amal movement in the Baalbek-Hermel constituency attempted to announce their electoral program.

However, civil society organizations persuaded Minister of Culture Mohammed Mortada to call a halt to the event, citing a violation of the electoral law.

“Electoral meetings or promotion are not authorized to be held in public spaces, governmental agencies, universities, faculties, institutions, public schools, or places of worship,” according to Article 77.


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