BEIRUT: Hezbollah opposes the resignation of the government and supports the current cabinet, “but with a new agenda and new spirit,” party leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah said Saturday.
“We do not support the resignation of the current government ... and the luxury to form another government does not currently exist,” Nasrallah said.
He said Hezbollah supports the continuation of the current government, as forming a new one would be “a waste of time, because if the government was political, it will be the same parties but different names for ministers.”
To people calling for a government of experts, Nasrallah said a “technocratic government cannot last two weeks with our current situation.”
Thousands of protesters have been holding nationwide protests since Thursday, against the government and its moves to impose new taxes.
Nasrallah said that the success of the protests is in their spontaneity and the fact that they are not backed by political parties.
“It was enough for the information minister to announce the decision to impose a fee on WhatsApp [calls] ... this made everyone take to the streets ... the WhatsApp fee is the straw that broke the camel’s back,” he said.
The protests broke out Thursday, following the announcement by Information Minister Jamal Jarrah and Telecommunications Minister Mohamed Choucair that Cabinet had agreed to impose a fee of $0.20 a day on calls made using WhatsApp and other voice over internet protocol applications.
“Some of those in places of authority were thinking that there is no problem to impose taxes, since all political parties are represented in Cabinet ... they go for the easier choice, the people’s pockets,” Nasrallah said.
“The message these past few days ... the Lebanese people cannot stand or bear any new taxes or fees,” he added.
The Hezbollah leader said his party is rejecting the imposition of taxes in Cabinet, and will reject them in Parliament if they get that far. If that were to fail, he warned that Hezbollah would take to the streets.
“If we took to the streets, we could not leave before reaching the goals that we came for, even if we had to stay a day, a month, or a year or two,” Nasrallah said.
Although he voiced support for the protesters and called on them to remain separate from political parties, he said that “no one can succeed in [ending President Michel Aoun’s] term.”