Beirut, Lebanon – Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri has announced that he will suspend his involvement in political activities and will not run in the upcoming parliamentary elections.
The Hariri family has dominated Lebanon’s Sunni political landscape for more than three decades since the end of the country’s civil war in 1990. In Lebanon’s sectarian system, where parliamentary seats are allocated on the basis of a sectarian quota, the vast majority is of Sunni lawmakers part of Hariri’s Future Movement party.
“I am convinced that there is no room for any positive opportunities for Lebanon due to the Iranian influence, our indecision with the international community, internal divisions and sectarian divisions, I am suspending work in political life and so is the Future Movement. . And I do not take part in the elections, nor in the Future Movement, “Hariri said in a televised speech on Monday.
“We remain in the service of our people and nation, but our decision is to suspend any direct role or responsibility in rule, representation or politics in the traditional sense,” he added.
Parliamentary elections are scheduled for May 15, 2022. Lebanese will go to the polls for the first time since a nationwide uprising in late 2019, and the Beirut port explosion in August 2020, more than 200 people were killed and several neighborhoods in the capital collapsed.
Lebanon also falters from a continuation economic crisis which landed more than three-quarters of the population in poverty in just over two years.
Hariri said on Monday his goal was to prevent another Lebanese civil war amid growing tensions and to improve the well-being of Lebanese, and said compromises he had made with political opponents to prevent war had his ability to improve economy weaken.
“These agreements came at my expense and may be the reason for my inability to make life better for the Lebanese. History will be the judge of it, ”he said, referring to the loss of personal wealth, local and regional allies.
Hariri held a meeting with his party last week on his decision not to run in the upcoming general election, but did not issue a statement to the press. His spokesman that day declined to comment on what went on during the meeting.
He was appointed elected prime minister for a third term as the country’s prime minister at the end of October 2020. However, he thank you the following July after political stalemate and ongoing disputes with President Michel Aoun.
Saad Hariri has been the leader of the Future Movement party with the Sunni majority for more than 15 years, following the assassination of his father, business magnate and former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri in February 2005.
Senior Future Movement official and former MP Mustafa Allouch told Al Jazeera that a significant factor behind Hariri’s decision is Iran-backed Hezbollah’s growing influence and political power in Lebanon, and that Future Movement officials are now divided over whether they for parliamentary elections must participate. own or not.
“I will only run if I agree with him [Hariri] and as part of a movement at the national level that opposes Hezbollah, ”Allouch said.
In recent years, most of Saad Hariri’s local allies have seen him as far too diplomatic with Hezbollah and their allies in government. They did not reproduce his compromises and only weakened Hariri and the Future Movement’s political prowess over time, experts said.
“In many ways, Hariri has lost kind of inland soil and [is] unable to win the elections in Lebanon due to its fragmented alliances and weak support from any local group, ”Imad Salamey, associate professor of Middle East affairs at the Lebanese American University, told Al Jazeera.
“He is fighting against a very strong Syrian-Iranian alliance in the country and has therefore given up hope.”
Hariri was closely linked to Gulf countries, especially Saudi Arabia.
However, Lebanon’s ties with the kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Kuwait have deteriorated in recent months. These GCC states cite Iran-backed Hezbollah’s involvement in regional conflicts, particularly in Yemen against a Saudi-led coalition, as a key speech.