Geagea: Govt. Won't Make Any Difference, We'll Only Join if Baabda Declaration is Policy Statement
Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea on Wednesday stressed that there is no “fundamental dispute” with the Mustaqbal Movement, noting that the LF would only join the new cabinet if the Baabda Declaration was adopted as the ministerial policy statement.
“I'm more and more convinced that the LF won't take part in the cabinet,” Geagea said in an interview on Future TV, before underlining that his party would join the new government “if the Baabda Declaration was adopted as the only political component of the ministerial Policy Statement.”
“When (Hizbullah MP) Ali Ammar says that they insist on the army-people-resistance equation, what can you expect from such a government?” Geagea asked rhetorically.
In response to a question, the LF leader said: “The relation with (ex-PM Saad) Hariri is something and the political stance is something else,” pointing out that his stance on the cabinet formation process “reflects a major decision by the party's executive committee” and not only his personal viewpoint.
“Emotionally speaking, we all want a cabinet and we want ministerial portfolios, but rationally speaking, I cannot fool myself as this cabinet will not make a difference,” Geagea noted.
“I have not discussed, at any moment, the issue of ministerial shares or portfolios, and claims that we've rejected to join the cabinet because we'll only have one portfolio are totally unfounded,” he stressed.
“There is no fundamental dispute with Mustaqbal but during negotiations we had a procedural disagreement on whether we should join the cabinet before or after reaching a political agreement with the other camp,” he said.
Geagea noted that a cabinet that can “change people's lives” is a cabinet that can make “political changes.”
“I've been surprised by the public opinion, which knows the type of governments it wants and will not settle for any cabinet,” he said.
He stressed that the unstable security situation in the country will remain the same after the formation of the new cabinet, “because Hizbullah is fighting in Syria.”
“Of course I don't want to throw Hizbullah into the sea, but I can't continue to bear the repercussions of the actions it does without consulting anyone,” added Geagea.
“The country is being depleted due to Hizbullah's policies and whatever we do, we won't be able to change anything unless it changes its behavior,” he emphasized.
Geagea pointed out that according to the information he's been hearing, “Hizbullah will have more than 8 ministers.”
“I've learned that Suleiman's share will include a minister for the party and Salam's share will include another ... We hope this will change,” he added.
Geagea noted that Hizbullah has only “theoretically” backed down from the so-called 8-8-8 cabinet formula.
“The solution is to maintain my political stance and continue struggling for the success of my project, and had I wanted to sit with them, I would've done that years ago,” he went on to say.
Geagea revealed that some March 14 independents and the National Liberal Party “will also not take part in the cabinet and portfolios were never the concern of March 14.”
“Let us not forget that we are being assassinated on the streets and that we are being pursued,” he said.
“The calls for dialogue after every assassination have become suspicious calls by individuals who do not want to shoulder their responsibilities,” Geagea stated.
“If we are the party that is keen on the country, should we cover up for the policies that are harming the country? We tried a national unity cabinet led by Saad Hariri between 2010 and 2011, but they toppled it with the first juncture,” he explained.
Geagea said that in a coalition cabinet, the March 14 camp “would only be splitting spoils with Hizbullah.”
“The events of the past two weeks have created a state of disarray in the March 14 coalition and this camp must prepare well for the presidential election,” he said.
Geagea pointed out that “March 14 has significant chances to elect the candidate it wants as president of the republic.”
Asked whether he would run in the presidential election, Gegaea said reaching the Baabda Palace would be meaningless if he couldn't implement his “political project.”
In response to another question, Geagea said: “I believe that Hariri has not changed his stance on nominating me for the presidency.”
He added that he supports electing a partisan candidate as president. “I'm with electing either a March 8 candidate or a March 14 candidate and the president would then implement its project. If Lebanon is divided, should we create a state that combines Hizbullah's statelet and the Lebanese state? The answer is no. The conflict is over political plans,” added Geagea.
The cabinet formation process was put on the front burner after Speaker Nabih Berri proposed a revised 8-8-8 government formula and President Michel Suleiman said he would form a so-called neutral cabinet if the political rivals don't agree on an all-embracing government within days.
Amid the LF' rejection of Hizbullah's participation in the cabinet, some compnents of the March 14 camp have accepted the 8-8-8 formula in principle, but are awaiting awaiting answers pertaining to the ministerial policy statement and the rotation of portfolios among political parties.
The 8-8-8 formula divides ministers equally between the centrists and March 14 and 8 alliances, in which each get eight ministers with “decisive ministers” for the March 14 and 8 coalitions.