Hezbollah leader: We refuse resignation of Lebanese president or government
Leader of Lebanese Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah said on Friday that he will not accept early elections, the bringing down of Lebanon’s president nor the resignation of the government as protests in the country mark their ninth day.
“We will not have the president resign and we don’t agree with early elections. I was called out on saying I’m protecting the status quo but no, we are protecting the country from a vacuum which will lead to chaos,” said Nasrallah in a televised address.
He urged his supporters to stay away from the nationwide protests and accused embassies of foreign governments of funding the protests.
“You want to protest, you need money. How is this protest being funded? Please explain to us how? You ask for transparency, then give it to us. Are you getting paid by certain embassies?” said Nasrallah.
He warned of the current situation in Lebanon leading to general chaos, security disorder, or civil war.
“If a vacuum happens it will lead to chaos, to disaster. The country will go to ruin, let’s hope there won't be a civil war,” said Nasrallah.
He said the reforms emerging from the protests in the country are “unprecedented,” adding that no Lebanese government has been able to approve such reforms in one session.
Nasrallah said that the reform bill is just the first step on the road of other steps that must be taken including approving laws to lift banking secrecy and recovering looted wealth.
“Every politician and religious leader who covers others will be held accountable by the people,” said Nasrallah, adding that the Lebanese government is determined to implement its decisions about the reforms by the set deadlines.
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Sunday presented an economic plan to representatives of different political blocs to help ease the unrest that has led to mass protests across the country calling for the resignation of the government.
Lebanon’s government agreed to the package on Monday. The decisions call for a 50 percent reduction in the salaries of current and former officials and $3.3 billion in contributions from banks to achieve a “near-zero deficit” for the 2020 budget.
It also includes a plan to privatize its telecommunications sector and an overhaul to its crippled electricity sector, a crucial demand among potential foreign donors and investors needed to unlock some $11 billion in funds to Lebanon.
The reforms also called for establishing new regulatory and transparency bodies within a “short period” of time to oversee reform plans. Central to protester demands is an end to what they say is rampant corruption destroying the economy.
The protests in Lebanon have called for a sweeping overhaul of Lebanon’s political system, with grievances ranging from austerity measures to poor infrastructure.