Change and Reform ‘Won’t Back Down’ from Escalation: We Won’t Allow Abolition of National Pact


The Change and Reform parliamentary bloc emphasized Tuesday that it “will not back down” from its promised escalation, warning that “the abolition of the National Pact is equivalent to the abolition of Lebanon.”

“We reassure everyone that our stance on the presidential vote and the rest of the national issues is not linked to the political stance of any party,” bloc secretary MP Ibrahim Kanaan told reporters after Change and Reform’s weekly meeting in Rabieh.

“Preserving this political system, coexistence and Lebanon begins with preserving the National Pact and the abolition of the National Pact is equivalent to the abolition of Lebanon,” Kanaan added.

He pointed out that the presidency “does not only concern” the Free Patriotic Movement, its founder MP Michel Aoun or Christians, “but also Muslims and the idea upon which Lebanon was built.”

Referring to the street protests and other escalatory steps that the FPM intends to stage, Kanaan underlined that any other party cannot influence the movement’s decisions in this regard.

“Our stance is principled and we will not back down in this regard. We will not stand idly by in the face of the attempt to abolish Lebanon,” the MP vowed.

“We are performing our duty in preserving the Lebanon of partnership and the presidency is Lebanon’s symbol, unity and real partnership,” he added.

“The electoral law is also the source of all authorities and is it logical that we have been demanding an electoral law and a president that conform to the National Pact for 27 years now?” Kanaan went on to say.

The FPM, which has the biggest Christian bloc in parliament, has suspended its participation in cabinet sessions and national dialogue meetings over accusations that other parties in the country are not respecting the National Pact.

The 1943 National Pact is an unwritten agreement that set the foundations of modern Lebanon as a multi-confessional state based on Christian-Muslim partnership.

FPM chief Jebran Bassil has warned that the country might be soon plunged into a “political system crisis” if the other parties do not heed the FPM’s demands regarding Muslim-Christian “partnership.” The FPM has also announced that it will resort to street protests to press for its demands.

Lebanon has been without a president since the term of Michel Suleiman ended in May 2014 and Hizbullah, Aoun’s Change and Reform bloc and some of their allies have been boycotting the parliament’s electoral sessions, stripping them of the needed quorum.

Al-Mustaqbal Movement leader ex-PM Saad Hariri, who is close to Saudi Arabia, launched an initiative in late 2015 to nominate Marada Movement chief MP Suleiman Franjieh for the presidency but his proposal was met with reservations from the country’s main Christian parties as well as Hizbullah.

The supporters of Aoun’s presidential bid argue that he is more eligible than Franjieh to become president due to the size of his parliamentary bloc and his bigger influence in the Christian community.