The National Bloc released the following statement:
President Michel Aoun leaves the presidential palace, raising a victory sign for the second time in his mandate, over the ruins of the nation and the state.
As he leaves, he continues to address the Lebanese people with the same failed illusions and bets.
As a matter of fact, Aoun did not fight militias, as he claimed, but rather consolidated the control of the Hezbollah militia over the country.
He did not fight corruption, but fought the judiciary and oversight bodies when he was unable to subdue them.
He did not protect the Christians, but rather tied their fate to a fragile alliance between minorities in the East, completely throwing away the role of a State and Institutions.
Lebanon has suffered six excruciating years, from an unprecedented economic and financial crisis that is considered to be the worst in modern history, according to the World Bank, to an explosion that destroyed the city and killed those in it, and an accelerated collapse of both the social and security situations.
It also goes without saying that Michel Aoun failed to manage any of the files for which he claimed he was elected, starting with the crisis of the Syrian refugees, as he refused to hold the Syrian regime primarily responsible for obstructing their return. Needless to mention that he slammed those he appointed in the judiciary and oversight bodies, though they were working ethically and professionally. Needless to mention that he obstructed the implementation of reforms - not to forget the role that the Free Patriotic Movement played in the Finance and Budget Committee to bring down the basic reforms. Needless to mention he was aware of the presence of ammonium nitrate at the Beirut Port and tried to restrict both the investigators and the investigation.
Michel Aoun would only leave office after signing a decree accepting the government's resignation, exposing the country to a double vacuum for which he and caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati bear responsibility.
He would only leave office after putting the powers of the president – which he claimed to protect – at the service of factional interests and personal ambitions, while he is the one who slammed the judiciary and the Head of the Supreme Judicial Council in his last speech.
Great lessons we can draw from an era that may be the worst in the history of the Lebanese Republic.
First and foremost, to protect the state from militias, one does not choose to form an alliance with the strongest among them.
Second, the fight against corruption is not done through slogans and shows, but through the law, and through the non-interference in the work of the judiciary and judges.
Third, a return to the constitution and institutions alone will protect the citizens, so that their safety is no longer linked to disputes between sectarian leaders.
The incoming president is required to fully commit to the constitution, which would hopefully restore the powers and legitimacy of the institutions and the presidency.
Michel Aoun’s mandate destroyed the Republic. Let his exit be the start of its rebuilding.