Hassan NasrallahLeaders of UmmahLebanonMiddle East

President Aoun: Hezbollah Makes Third of Lebanese Population, Can’t Be Excluded

Lebanese President Michel Aoun stressed that no one has the right to force him to exclude Hezbollah from taking part in the new government, stressing that the Lebanese resistance party makes third of the Lebanese population.

In an interview with Al-Mayadeen TV channel on Tuesday, President Aoun stressed that Hezbollah doesn’t interfere in the Lebanese territories, noting that the sanctions which have been imposed against him targeted all the Lebanese people.

“Hezbollah has been since 2006 committed to UN resolution 1701, and he doesn’t interfere in any issue on the Lebanese territory. An economic blockade has been imposed against Hezbollah, but it targeted all the Lebanese people,” President Aoun said, noting that this blockade is aimed at sowing discord and clashes among Lebanese parties.

“They can’t force me to get rid of a party that represents at least a third of Lebanese.”

He also signaled that the country would soon have a government of technocrats and politicians, whose main task would be to tackle corruption and resolve a deepening economic crisis.

Asked whether parliamentary consultations would begin Thursday or Friday, Aoun said: “We are still awaiting answers from some parties, so we may be delayed.”

“We want a government that is united, not divided,” Aoun added, saying that the most likely option for the makeup of the Cabinet would be a “techno-political” one.

Asked whether caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri would return to his position, the president said it “could or could not” be him.

Aoun emphasized during the interview that the next government should focus on achieving three of the protesters’ main goals: Fighting corruption rampant in ministries and state institutions, improving the economic situation and laying the foundation for the building of a “civil state.”

The president warned, meanwhile, that a government made up purely of independent technocrats, as protesters have demanded, would not be able to craft the country’s internal and external policies.

“A technocratic government cannot outline the country’s policies. I support the formation of a half-political and half-technocratic government,” he said. “Unless it is a techno-political government, it cannot have political cover from Parliament.”

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