Hariri Says Bassil is 'Shadow President', Decries '2nd Assassination of Rafik Hariri'
Al-Mustaqbal Movement leader ex-PM Saad Hariri on Friday launched a fierce attack on Free Patriotic Movement chief MP Jebran Bassil and lamented that some parties are seeking what he called a second assassination of Rafik Hariri.
“President (Michel) Aoun knows that I respect him, but unfortunately I dealt with ‘two presidents’ and I had to deal with a ‘shadow president,’” Hariri said at a rally marking the 15th anniversary of Rafik Hariri’s assassination, apparently referring to Bassil.
“The mentality of the wars of elimination wants to eliminate the Progressive Socialist Party, the Lebanese Forces, the protest movement, Harirism and al-Mustaqbal Movement,” Hariri decried, in a jab at Aoun, Bassil and the FPM.
“The political settlement has become something of the past and I affirm my alliance with Walid Jumblat,” he added.
Reminding of his initial support for Marada Movement chief Suleiman Franjieh’s presidential bid ahead of his endorsement of Aoun, Hariri said “Franjieh's allies” prevented his election as president.
“We saw the settlement as a way to protect the country from civil strife,” Hariri added.
He noted that had the Paris II reforms been implemented 18 years ago, the country “would not have reached this collapse.”
“Rafik Hariri secured 24/7 power feed but who returned us to power rationing?” Hariri said, apparently referring to Bassil and the FPM.
“They wasted seven out of 14 years in the name of the National Pact,” he charged.
“The longest scheme of obstruction was staged in the wake of Rafik Hariri's assassination,” Hariri lamented.
He added: “They did not build anything in the country after Rafik Hariri's assassination.”
Hariri also suggested that some parties are “seeking to assassinate Rafik Hariri once again by blaming him for the public debt and the economic collapse.”
Underlining that no one can eliminate al-Mustaqbal Movement from the political scene, Hariri said the Movement will remain in the hearts of its supporters and will continue to “irritate the haters.”
He also said that claims that Mustaqbal is seeking the naturalization of refugees in the country are a “farce.”
Commenting on recent remarks by Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah about the economic crisis, Hariri said “Iran's cash money can solve the crisis of a party but cannot solve the crisis of a country.”
“We support the organization of early elections and the country needs calm,” he added.
As for his future as a politician, he said: “I will not leave the country to the unknown and I will not choose strife because I’m the son of Rafik Hariri.”
Addressing the Sunni community, Hariri stressed that it was his own decision to leave the premier post.
“I heard the voice of the people, because the people demanded a technocrat cabinet,” he said.
“I’m staying in my country and home, among my people and in the political life. Al-Mustaqbal Movement is a major movement, the Sunni community will remain here and will go nowhere and the patriotic people will remain here and no one can intimidate them,” Hariri added.