Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement said it expected the Mediterranean country’s parliamentary elections to be held on time in May, days after former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri said he would would not stand for election.
“Everything indicates that the legislative elections will take place on time,” Sheikh Naim Qassem, deputy secretary general of Hezbollah, said in a speech on Sunday, according to the Lebanese television channel al-Manar.
“There are no developments preventing these elections from taking place,” he added.
The Hezbollah official stressed that the upcoming legislative elections will be an important opportunity for the Lebanese people to express their opinions, adding that Hezbollah started preparing for the elections four months ago.
Last Monday, Hariri said in a televised address that he saw no chance for a positive future for Lebanon “in light of international disarray, national division, bigotry and state collapse”. .
The leading Sunni Muslim politician said he was suspending his role in power, politics and parliament, urging members of his political party to do the same.
Meanwhile, Lebanese President Michel Aoun said on Saturday he saw no reason to delay the elections.
On Sunday, Maronite Christian Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rai said Hariri’s decision should not be used as an excuse to request a postponement.
Elsewhere in his remarks on Sunday, Sheikh Qassem stressed that “we are committed to organizing the elections and we are enthusiastic about it”.
He described the Lebanese resistance movement as a “necessity”, saying resistance is the basis for the existence of a sovereign, free and independent Lebanon.
Sheikh Qassem stressed that “this resistance is not a future project, but rather an existing situation that has liberated and given its status to Lebanon”.
“Those who reject the resistance place Lebanon in a state of capitulation and subordination to the interests of Israel,” the Hezbollah official added.
“We are working on the realization of the recovery plan through the Lebanese government, to be a starting point to restore financial, economic and social balance,” added Sheikh Qassem.
Since the end of 2019, Lebanon has been plunged into a deep financial crisis which caused the Lebanese pound to lose around 90% of its value to the US dollar and led to the collapse of its banking system, plunging the majority of Lebanese into the poverty.
The economic and financial crisis is mainly linked to the sanctions that the United States and its allies have imposed on Lebanon as well as foreign interference in the internal affairs of the Arab nation.
Despite the dire economic situation, Sheikh Qassem said Hezbollah does not expect the elections to yield a significantly different outcome from 2018, when the resistance group and its allies won a majority of seats in parliament.
Hezbollah opinion polls across Lebanon showed that “the election results will be close to the composition of the current parliament, with slight changes that do not affect the overall composition”, he said.
“That’s why we say to those who have high hopes: ‘put your feet on the ground,'” Sheikh Qassem added.