The National Bloc released the following statement:
As the holiday season ends, year 2023 begins amidst an unprecedented political, economic and social crisis in the history of Lebanon.
On the political level, institutions are in a state of complete paralysis. The presidential vacancy persists while personal, factional, and regional interests prevail over the logic of the constitution and the law; and while the parliament does not fulfill its role, but remains hostage to the will of its president; and while the caretaker government is unable to even approve a treasury advance for Electricité du Liban, that would perhaps alleviate the daily tragedy of the Lebanese citizens.
In light of this reality, the calls for a dialogue and mutual visits appear to be just a cover for the failure of the civil-war produced political class, and an attempt to evade the responsibility of obstruction.
The ruling class is still betting on the vacuum thus trying to elect a president from within it, despite its efforts to mitigate its impact through resonating speeches, protocol visits, expectations of an external role, and the injection of dollars into the market by the Central Bank which would definitely not refrain the collapse of the Lebanese pound.
What is even more risky is considering the amendment of the constitution and the political system as an entry point to the solution, in light of the prevailing economic and social emergency. This appears to be an attempt to divert attention from the militia practice of the pillars of power in administering the state for three decades, and to restate their legitimacy, which has been tarnished to a large extent due to the crisis.
However, the tragic economic and social situation that we have reached, imposes on the political class, and on “Hezbollah” in particular, a different approach to electing a president. It does not have the luxury of waiting for two years, as it did with the election of Michel Aoun in 2016. The political class knows best that betting on a vacuum, bargaining, waiting for an external sign, and hiding behind round tables, may not lead to the election of a president before months or even years, and its cost to Lebanon will be enormous, which might take them down, and us together.
Therefore, the safest and fastest way to elect a president is by going back to Article 49 of the constitution, where the president will be elected through an absolute majority of the Chamber of Deputies if unable to secure a two-thirds majority in the first session.
The starting point to overcoming the political and economic crisis is the return to the constitution and the election of a new president who keeps pace with the aspirations of the Lebanese. A president with vision, integrity and a deep belief in the Lebanese identity.
A president who has the credibility to sponsor an inclusive dialogue between the Lebanese on all controversial issues regarding sovereignty, defense, foreign policy, and the civil state of the country, fortified by the constitution and the institutions.
A president who is committed to reform and who makes the agreement with the IMF his first priority, as a gateway to restoring the confidence of the Arab and international community, and seeks to audit all the state institutions, starting with “Banque du Liban.”
A president who restores the independence of the judiciary and its role in holding accountable those who seized the public funds, and those responsible for the case of August 4, the day the crime of Beirut port bombing was committed, which would restore the confidence of the Lebanese citizens in the state.
A president who puts the national interest above all considerations, and seeks to address the existential crises that threaten the country, including the issue of the Syrian refugees, far from the populism to which we have become accustomed during the past six years.
A historic responsibility lays on the political class, specifically Hezbollah, being the most powerful party in terms of arms, money and influence, and the one who holds the keys to the Parliament, to return to the constitution and elect a president as soon as possible.
The other option is to bet on vacuum, obstruction, and the intervention of foreign powers which might not occur soon. The other option is the extension to Riad Salameh and the rejection of reform in light of the paralysis of the institutions. The other option is for the dollar exchange rate to reach 100,000 Lebanese pounds at the end of the new year.