Christian politicians urge youths to take part in polls

Freedom ‘did not emerge from a void’

By Nada Bakri

BEIRUT: Various Christian politicians urged Lebanese youths and civil-society sectors to participate in the upcoming parliamentary elections to reform Lebanon and help it realize its sovereignty, freedom and independence.

Kesrouan MP Farid Khazen, Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) member Ibrahim Kanaan as well as Alain Aoun and George Abi Zeid from the National Bloc were speaking during a conference at Notre Dames University, in Zouk Mosbeh.

Khazen said: “We are currently facing a historic situation.

“We should prove our ability to rule ourselves and reform our country or we will be faced with a catastrophe no one can assess the results of.”

Khazen explained to a large audience of NDU students and professors that Lebanese politicians and decision-makers are the reason behind the deterioration of the country’s political situation.

He said: “Politicians need to realize it is impossible to carry on with the same political mentality that has prevailed for the last 15 years, and Lebanon is eager for political reform that will lead to social and economic reform.

Commenting on the choice of electoral law for the upcoming elections Khazen said: “We consider the 2000 law to be the burial ground of democratic life and Parliament in Lebanon.”

Kanaan, speaking on behalf of FPM, said Lebanon’s freedom “did not emerge from a void but was the result of a brutal resistance to a 15-year dictatorship of deception and corruption.”

He also said the country’s reform is possible once the Lebanese unite, and called on parties to adopt new political ideologies rather than simply delivering the same old political statements during the elections period.

Aoun, also from FPM, insisted his party is committed to a clear electoral agenda that will be adopted during the coming four years and form the basis of any coalition during the upcoming parliamentary elections.

Abi Zeid, echoing the National Bloc stance, pointed to the importance of the reform that will result from the elections, insisting on the youth’s role in it. He also urged the opposition to stay united and make enlarging its coalition a top priority.

Commenting on the 2000 electoral law, Abi Zeid said: “This law does not provide the Lebanese people with fair and just representation and does not reflect their aspirations. Nevertheless, we should not boycott the elections.”