The speech delivered by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Monday June 8, 2008 via Al Manar Television
I take refuge in Allah from the stoned devil. In the Name of Allah, The Compassionate, The Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, The Lord of the world. Peace be on our Master and Prophet – The Seal of Prophets – Abi Al Qassem Mohamad Bin Abdullah and on his chaste and kind Household, chosen companions and all the prophets and messengers. Peace be upon you all and Allah’s blessing and mercy.
Tonight I will move from the general to the private then I will end up with two general topics. Indeed I’ll address you all in my speech which tackles the event we passed through together which is the parliamentary elections and its outcome.
First: I would like to congratulate all the Lebanese people with all their political parties, movements and groups on this great important national achievement. I would like also to praise the popular showing at voting stations in all regions and from all sects what reflects a great political responsibility towards national causes and the present and future of this nation and people. This is indeed a very great positive point which must be lauded and which must be likewise stressed and strengthened because after all it sets a clear track that shows that we as a Lebanese people deserve to own this chance and to resort to this means in face of essential causes.
Second: I would like to thank all ministries and political, judiciary and security administrations especially the Lebanese Army and the security forces on their running of this process and on preserving security, stability and peace what gave a great chance for the Lebanese to vote and express their views. This is noticeable especially because these political, security and judiciary administrations were before a great challenge which is holding elections in one day. So despite the defects and flaws which took place and which indeed will be evaluated so as to be addressed later, we believe it was a major challenge and we believe that it was faced with great responsibility.
Third: I like to congratulate all the winners in parliamentary elections whether from the Loyalists or from the Opposition and in all parliamentary districts. They all must know that now they have assumed the responsibility of the people and the future of this country. So Inshallah they will live up to this assumed responsibility.
Fourth: We accept the results announced by the Interior Minister indeed while preserving the right of candidates in the various districts. If any of them has any information that enables him to appeal before the Constitutional Council, this would be a particular issue. As for the official results which were announced, we accept them with sportsmanship and democratic spirits. We also accept that the other contesting group – i.e. the Loyalists – has won the majority of seats in the parliament though the Opposition preserved its previous parliamentary position in sum (as it lost some districts and won others).
Indeed we accept the parliamentary majority. Well in previous ceremonies, I used to say that there is a difference between parliamentary majority and popular majority. The parliamentary majority might or might not be the popular majority. Anyway, we accept the parliamentary majority. As for the popular majority, it seems that needs centers for studies and statistics to review figures closely so as to know who gains the popular majority. I believe that we all can resort to the ballot boxes to help us in deciding the popular majority (as we resorted to ballot boxes to decide the parliamentary elections) and if most of the votes in sum were for the interest of the other party, I will accept that they are also the popular majority.
Now we accept the results regardless of our evaluation of the election process and the means used in this regard whether the huge expenditure which will be clearly illustrated within days, the sectarian, factional –and at times racial- incitement which was illustrated during the election campaigns days, the accusations and lies which aimed at intimidating the public opinion especially within some sects and some districts, (It is more precise to say that lying mills were used in this perspective) and the open and overt foreign interference. Anyway, I will not interfere in such an evaluation. I just wanted to point even if with hints to that. We will have our evaluation of the election process from A to Z as the other forces will make such evaluations but that will not influence our acceptance of the results.
In this framework and as we are talking about results and accepting results, I would like to point out two big lies (which have been prompted through the election campaign) that have been thwarted. As these points are directly related to us especially the Opposition and more precisely to Hezbollah, I feel that I am concerned in singling them out and clarifying these two points.
First the lie number one is the political rhetoric that has been exploited for months regarding the Opposition as seeking to cripple elections and ruining the political and security status so as to prevent elections from taking place. Then if the Opposition found out that it is losing the elections and not moving towards parliamentary majority while voting is taking place it will destroy the ballots and blur up the situation. Also if after counting votes or when results are announced, the Opposition will not accept the results and will challenge the parliamentary elections and consider them illegitimate and consequently push the country towards political, popular and security crises. This has been said if not from all Loyalist leaderships (to be on the safe side) from most of them.
Well today (Monday) here I am at your service. The results were announced and we are dealing with them normally. This is the first proof on the big lie invested in the elections campaign. The election day was normal, natural and excellent. The security status was excellent and stable. The turnout was huge. The vote counting was quiet. Results were announced and no problem took place. It was clear that all were fearful. I was following up with the Interior Minister – whom we address with a special salutation – while he was saying now we are over with the elections and the great event is issuing the results via vote counting. We have to accept the outcome because there was anxiety. This is the first point. We may say that this is one of the big lies which were invested in the election campaign. Now it fell.
No comes the second lie which is even bigger than the first and which was invested more in the election campaign. Well when I handle such points I don’t mean to record lies to highlight the upcoming stage. We want to benefit from the past to highlight the future. In recent months, speeches, statements and interviews focused on how elections would be held while the resistance arms are still there. That means that elections are not fair; people are under pressure; they can’t express themselves as this arm is imposing choices on the people; the people are not convinced in their choices. This also and to be on the safe side was said by most of the other party leaderships. They wrote articles and made lengthy interviews on this issue. Indeed if the opposition won the parliamentary elections, that issue was to be raised again. They would’ve said the fairness of the elections is challenged because it was held in the presence of the resistance arms. Now and because the Loyalists had the parliamentary elections no one is tackling that issue. I am reminding of that because after the elections were announced and we accepted that, this great lie has been exposed. The elections were held in Lebanon in all districts in the presence of the arms weapons. In the presence of the resistance arsenal which has never been present since 1982, people voted; there was no pressure; no one imposed anything on them, results were issue today and nothing took place.
So one of the most important conclusions is that this arm is not used to impose political realities. One of the most important political events at most is parliamentary elections because the role played by the parliament in the Lebanese regime is well known whether electing the president (We as well are through also with the lie of shortening the presidential tenure), forming the government, lawmaking, public budget, agreements… So if we wanted to say which is the most important internal political event at all? It is the parliamentary elections. Well people voted with utmost ease and freedom. Neither the arms nor their deed was noticed. This proves what we have always been saying that these arms are not to impose political realities and not to put or take off people from power. It has a clear employment which is that of resistance and defending the country. Here I stress that the election process as a whole had proved before all accusers and misleaders the soundness of the direction to which this arm is pointed. I wrap up this point saying that the Lebanese have proved their ability as a state, people and political and security forces to preserve security, stability, civil peace, political and media election competition – even sharp competition – without touching on the pillars of security and stability. Now we must guard and preserve this. We have always been saying that we have to resort to the ballot boxes. The whole story of the Opposition since July War until now was resorting to the polls. We would have spared our country all these troubles.
Fifth, I like to greet with high estimation all the Lebanese National Opposition leaderships, cadres, movements, parties and masses. I tell them: Dear ones, we have together put before our eyes a noble national goal which is working to achieve a great reform on all perspectives whether legal, political, economic, social, living, financial… Thus we – the Lebanese National Opposition – sought to gain the parliamentary majority to serve the reform project and not to seize power and have hegemony over the authority. We all in the Lebanese National Opposition exerted utmost legitimate efforts in the election battle. We have all faced what was properly called by General Michael Aoun a global war because no one in the whole world hasn’t but tried to interfere in the elections. The Opposition masses got involved in this great national battle with utmost faithfulness and zeal.
Now if we couldn’t serve this reform project which we believed in from the parliamentary majority post, that does not mean that we have no obligation as national forces to serve this reform project from another position whether as parliamentary, popular and political Opposition from outside or inside the government. These options are open for debate. But this responsibility towards the reform project which we believed in and sought to achieve remains valid. Today I renew the pledge and call on all the Opposition leaderships to renew the pledge and commitment along with all the popular groups who have voted for the Opposition tickets in many and all the districts to renew their pledges to serve the reform project which the masses have believed in and worked for and bore and stood with the opposition forces all through the past period all these sufferings. This responsibility never ends or stops. Indeed the parliamentary elections despite their importance are not more than a station in the long way of the national political struggle to achieve these noble goals.
We in the Opposition are supposed to make consultations very soon Inshallah to decide our steps, course and the way to deal with the upcoming events. Indeed we are before naming the speaker and the premier and forming the government, and we have to decide on how to deal with these events as an Opposition. Now I do not want to have the final word in any matter because that needs studying, consultations and an agreement among the National Opposition. That will take place in the next few days Inshallah.
I whole-heartedly and on behalf of all my brethrens in Hezbollah leadership thank and highly esteem specially the masses of the resistance and the masses of Hezbollah. Here I would like to mention the categorization resorted to in the electoral districts. In some districts there wasn’t election competition. We considered them as present on the fire line such as South, Baalbek-Hermel, Beirut Southern Suburbs which gathered the two issues (being on the fire line and a competition district). In the districts where there was no competition but still we called on people to come massively to ballots stations to express the political choices especially regarding the resistance (as it is they who paid the tax of blood, displacement, house demolition during July War and others) we found out that despite in the fact that South and Baalbeck-Hermel districts did not witness election competition, the percentage of voters was very high and in some cases exceeded the districts which witnessed sharp and tough competition. This huge popular turnout in the various regions is highly esteemed. Indeed it wasn’t surprising because it is the conviction, wish and will of the people. I also want to thank the masses who participated in the districts where there were election competitions: Western Bekaa, Rashaya, Mid Bekaa, Mount Lebanon districts, the North and Beirut in general where we have popular masses, brethrens and activists who exerted great efforts. Also I like to thank the campaign staffs in all regions who worked for months with great and clear efforts which yielded this great popular presence. This was their right whether in the districts where there are Shiite seats or not and whether in the districts where there were Hezbollah voters or not because we worked on the bases that the Opposition as a whole is involved in the battle and it is our normal right that we be present. We have electors in northern Matn who want to vote also in Kisirwan, Jbeil and Koura and all the other districts. Here I want to condemn again some sectarian, factional racist rhetoric which does not agree that if the majority in a definite district is of a definite sect and others came to say the final word in the district. In fact, this is what took place in most of the districts. In some districts the final word was for sects and in others for factional minorities. So why here the speech is sectarian and there it is national? Every Lebanese person whatever his religious sect or faction be has the right and it is even his duty to vote in the region where he is registered in the striking rolls. That’s his national obligation and if he failed to fulfill this obligation he would be abandoning his national responsibility. I greatly salute all the campaign staffs. I also congratulate all my brethrens in the Loyalty to Resistance Bloc in all the districts because all the Bloc’s candidates won in all the districts with very high votes and they have gained unprecedented public support.
I conclude with two general points. The first has to do with the people and the great embrace in these districts which was much more like a referendum. The people have addressed the whole world with a message: the choice of the resistance is not that of an armed party or gang. It’s not a choice imposed on people by force and pressure. No one could oblige the people especially in districts where there was no competition to leave their regions and go to ballot boxes in such huge turnout especially with the existence of new obstacles as a result of the new administration followed in elections. Those people who showed up in ballots sent a message to the whole world: the choice of resistance is a popular choice especially in areas which face the threat of aggression. Consequently the choice of resistance is an expression of the will of these people, their inclination, culture, awareness and life. This must be respected. The second message is that resistance is not a piece of arms to be debated but rather a popular will. This point is to be discussed on the dialogue table. It must be discussed regarding the people’s will and choices, especially those people who live in the arena under threat.
In this point in particular, I heard some statements or discussions which express fear over this point in the upcoming stage. I say there is no need for fear in all cases. As long as the resistance is a popular choice embraced by the people there is no need for fear because no one can do anything with the popular will. I stressed this point before the elections and after the elections regardless of who might have won. This is left for a quiet dialogue and objective discussion. I believe this is the right path which all parties are supposed to have announced their commitment to. Consequently, there is no need to have fear or polarize over this topic whether now or in the upcoming stage.
The last point which I like to end with is that after this great national achievement in elections, the chance of establishing a strong capable fair state is still possible regardless of the election results. We agree that there are great challenges before us as Lebanese whether on the economic level (financial crisis) or on the social, living, political, administrative and other levels. So I believe we all must have reached the conviction of saving this country, developing it, solving its troubles, raising its status and guarding its independence, freedom and dignity. That needs the cooperation of all Lebanese regardless of the nature of this cooperation. The chance is still there. This is linked to the will of all political forces which have proved in ballot boxes their popular political parliamentary presence. Ballot boxes have proved that even those who did not win in parliamentary seats have great popular support in their regions which must not be neglected. So this has to do to a great extent with the will of the political forces and parties. But I believe that this is essentially and primarily linked to the party which gained the parliamentary majority in these elections. How will its conduct be? What’s its true program? Let’s put aside what was said before the elections. Tell us after the elections: what’s the true program? What is the program which it wants? This program must be known to the Lebanese because this is the future of their country. What are the priorities of this party? In which mentality they will behave? With what spirit they will deal with the public affairs? Will they benefit from the previous years experiences especially the last four years? Will they blunder in classifying priorities or will they classify them in the right way?
After the parliamentary elections, the party which have become the parliamentary majority is more concerned with how to deal with the upcoming stage while the National Opposition which have preserved its parliamentary position will work from its popular parliamentary and political position which might be more on the popular level that will be illustrated in figures in the coming few days. So the majority is concerned with the fate of the country. It can’t quit the square by any means. It is concerned in the upcoming stage to be clear with the Lebanese. Nothing must be hidden at all. That’s because transparency and clarity and truthfulness are very important elements in our country to overcome troubles and disputes and to open doors wide before dialogue and agreement. So let’s try to build a republic based on truthfulness. Enough with fabricating events that have to do with the authority or with deciding priorities based on lies, accusations, fears and worries. Tonight I like to answer all what was said in the election campaign. Let go with that. The days ahead will prove as this day that there were two lies which were exploited for the elections concerning the position of the Opposition from the elections and holding elections while there are arms. Let’s put what have been said behind. Let’s depend on faithfulness, transparency and clarity. Let’s be open with each other whether Loyalists or Opposition so as to build together a country and to defend and develop it. Let’s together help this country out of the crises which it has been suffering from for long.
We are before a new stage and status. May Allah bless all those who have exerted great efforts in the previous stage. This was a station. Let’s deal with it with all its results. Let’s benefit from the lessons of the past. Let’s see where the gaps were? What are the good and bad points? What are the points of strength and points of weakness? Let’s develop our presence. But what must not be touched ever is our responsibility towards our people and country especially those who had offered blood and great efforts to liberate this nation and defend its existence. This station must furnish us with more determination and will to continue working and struggling with hope and confidence in the future so that we be able to see our country for which our brethrens, sons and dear ones have offered their chaste souls and blood. We must preserve it, defend it and move it forward Inshallah. Peace be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessing.
It is beautiful to see this. Hopefully a National Unity Government may be formed by all the parties, and Hariri will reunite Lebanon in the spirit of brotherhood and co-operation with which it was founded.