Independence Movement President and resigned MP Michel Moawad stressed that his meeting with Jean-Yves Le Drian was held alongside civil society forces that emerged from the revolution, other partisan forces, like the Kataeb Party, and resigned MPs, like Nemat Frem.
In a televised interview with Al Hadath, Moawad said: “The meeting with Le Drian, in its form and contents, affirmed the point of view that we have always defended, which is that the solution in Lebanon cannot be financial or technical. What is certain is that Lebanon needs several political, social and financial reforms, in addition to the implementation of the constitution, in order to have a decentralized civil state. Reforms in the educational and energy sectors must also follow, but the main reason for the financial and political failures that we are witnessing is an armed militia that has taken the Lebanese state hostage and is dragging it to the Iranian axis. This axis opposes our partners in the Arab region, the Western world, the rest of the world, and it doesn’t serve the Lebanese interest.
Moawad stressed that the political battle the Lebanese people are waging against the political class could only come within the framework of comprehensive change that begins with withdrawing confidence from the current ruling clique class and their alliances, which have cost the Lebanese people their livelihood, dignity and the future of their children, not to mention the humiliation they are being subjected to every day.
Regarding whether the sanctions that Le Drian had mentioned would include certain politicians and the standards France will adopt in implementing those sanctions, Moawad replied: “Le Drian said the sanctions are comprehensive and gradual. I will not add anything to what he said to Lebanese media. The question of sanctions was not at the heart of our discussions, as this subject is a matter of French foreign policy, and what we are concerned with today is bringing those who brought us to this situation to justice. I consider this regime corrupt to the very core, and we as Lebanese must work to bring it down, in all its corrupt components. Let us strive for comprehensive change, from which political, social, economic and financial reforms would ensue; however, there will be no reforms with this political class at the helm”. He added: “the most important thing is that sweeping change is needed, and we mean a democratic transition within the framework of institutions. From this standpoint, we consider that holding parliamentary elections on time is necessary and essential for giving the Lebanese people a real opportunity to express their voice freely under international supervision, which could prevent any attempt to hijack the votes of the Lebanese people.”
In response to a question about the potential reelection of the same political class in the upcoming elections, Moawad said: “We live under a democratic regime, and if the Lebanese people are satisfied with them, then they should vote for the same people. However, I am confident that the talk about postponing elections is meant to marginalize the Lebanese people, kill their resilience, and quell their persistence for a change. The Lebanese people have become aware that the ruling clique and this political class are an amalgamation of an armed militia, rogue political officials, and unhinged partisans that pose a threat to their liver, dignity, livelihood, and the future of their children and their country. I am sure that the Lebanese will vote for change, and it is our responsibility, as an opposition, with its diversity, to garner the Lebanese people’s trust and present a political project to them that bringing down this lethal alliance, which has taken our state hostage, and is destroying our institutions and the dreams of our children.”
Regarding the corruption accusations directed against some of the members of the current opposition coalition that had been part of the ruling clique in the past, Moawad pointed out that “the Independence Movement is among the political forces that gave this ruling clique the opportunity to carry out reforms, and we are proud that we have never misappropriated public funds, nor do we have blood on our hands, and this is what every political force, friendly or hostile, attests to. We are the sons of a political school that has a history of martyrdom and sacrifices. Therefore, on the basis of our collective responsibility, we must establish a fully-fledged opposition front that includes various components that come together on the basis of a political framework and shun nepotism, a front that brings together forces that share common approaches with no corruption accusations hanging over them. For corruption is not a political choice but a question of ethics. Confronting the militia and mafia and restoring the state will be among its objectives, as only thus we can thus carry out the necessary reforms. They will be implemented firstly at the level of sovereignty and the restoration of state sovereignty through the imposition of a monopoly on armament, sovereign decision-making, and control over its borders. Secondly, we must implement the constitution and establish a decentralized civil state. Thirdly, we must rethink Lebanon’s economic model to ensure that we have a free and productive economy. Fourth, we must implement fiscal reforms that emphasize social justice, creating a safety net for Lebanese citizens and allowing them to retrieve their money.
On the question of his fears that a deal is brewing at the expense of Lebanon’s interest, Moawad replied: “Yes, we have fears about this, and we are well aware of what is going in the region. We are striving to build a Lebanon that is non-sectarian and respects the rules of law. We would be in danger if Lebanon loses its identity, and we have learned from experience that a national project is needed to preserve Lebanon’s role, identity and place in the region and the world, while it also strives to defend the Lebanese cause in both the Arab and international political scenes. The Lebanese cause transcends political parties, sects, or personal interests, and it is a message of national unity that we must hang on to, and we must turn into a reality from within the framework of a state. This begins by making changes from within.”