PRESIDENT AOUN TO EU ELECTION OBSERVATION MISSION: THERE ARE CANDIDATES WHO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF DIFFICULT ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL CONDITIONS AND PAY MONEY TO CONFISCATE VOTERS’ CHOICE

President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, met a delegation of the European Union Election Observation Mission headed by Representative Brando Benifei, today at Baabda Palace.

The meeting was also attended by the European Union Ambassador to Lebanon, Mr. Ralph Tarraf.

President Aoun told the delegation that “There are candidates for the parliamentary elections who take advantage of the difficult economic and social conditions that the Lebanese are currently going through and pay money to confiscate their options, which is supposed to be free from any restrictions”.

President Aoun also indicated that some of the money that is being paid in this election comes from outside Lebanon, “Which prompted me yesterday to request strictness in the security and judicial authorities’ prosecution of bribery to prevent the continuation of these practices that will negatively affect the democratic practice of the elections and possibly their results”.

The President emphasized his bet on the voters’ awareness and their refusal to be commodities to be bought and sold, especially during elections and informed the members of the European mission that all data related to bribery and other acts will be placed at the mission’s disposal to have a full picture of these violations punishable by law.

Furthermore, President Aoun commended the work of the members of the delegation, which includes representatives in the European Parliament from France, Italy, Germany, Portugal, Poland and Hungary, and stressed the provision of all facilities that make their mission successful in cooperation with the Lebanese administrations concerned with the elections.

In this context, the President thanked the President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola, the President of the European Council Charles Michel and the President of the European Commission Ursula von Derlein for sending this mission, which participates with an Arab and Francophone delegation and international observers in following up the course of the electoral process.

Moreover, President Aoun confirmed that preparations for the elections were completed next Sunday, after the elections took place in the countries of the Lebanese diaspora on May 6 and 8, with a total participation rate of about 63%, “Noting that the scattered in about 58 countries voted for the second time, and the first time was in 2018. Before that, our people abroad were deprived of their electoral right to participate in the making of Lebanese political life”.

Finally, President Aoun indicated, in response to the mission’s members’ questions, that after the completion of the elections, a new government would be formed to complete the reform steps initiated by the current government.

“We hope that this will be achieved quickly without any obstacles” the President concluded.

For his side, Representative Benifei had presented the task entrusted to the mission to monitor the elections and prepare a detailed report, pointing out that a similar mission had previously monitored the elections in 2018 and made recommendations that were not taken into consideration.

Benifei revealed that the observers of the mission will be distributed in all Lebanese regions to achieve an integrated follow-up to the elections in support of the democracy that Lebanon enjoys.

“Our money is ours” Association:

The President met a delegation from “Our Money is Ours” association.

In the name of the delegation, Mr. Firas Tannous stressed the miserable situation in which the depositors “Who have lost their lives, the ammunition for their future, and the future of their children”.

The delegation demanded that, after the upcoming parliamentary elections, a new government be formed that works with the Parliament to approve a draft law that protects depositors’ money in full, and approves in its program of work the development of a scheduling plan to return depositors’ money within a short period of time.

Mr. Tannous also addressed President Aoun, saying: “You are the spearhead in recovering depositors’ money, because you know that the country is plundered and not broken. The Lebanese people have suffered enough”.

For his side, the President welcomed the delegation, and stressed his constant knowledge of the suffering of the Lebanese as a result of their inability to obtain their deposits, compensation and salaries from banks, pointing out that he has worked and will work to preserve the rights of depositors, and that the ongoing negotiations with the International Monetary Fund focus in part on the issue of depositors and their conditions.

“I hope that these negotiations will lead to positive results that lay the appropriate foundations for reforming the financial and economic situation in the country” President Aoun said.

In addition, President Aoun pointed to the obstacles that have been placed in the way of many reform bills that deal with the current dire economic situation in the country, including the “Capital Control” project, and the forensic audit, which is supposed to determine responsibilities in preparation for accountability.

Then, the President addressed the members of the delegation, saying: “I will continue to fight to restore your rights and fight corruption until the last moment of my mandate, because the money of all depositors is their right, and it is not acceptable for them to bear the burden of losses incurred in our financial system for reasons that are no longer hidden from anyone”.

“No pressure or position will deter us from working to preserve depositors’ money as part of an integrated plan for economic recovery in the country” the President asserted.

Source: National News Agency – Lebanon