President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, met Interior Minister, Bassam Mawlawi, this afternoon at the Presidential Palace.
Minister Mawlawi briefed the President on the security situation, in light of the reports received since yesterday afternoon and throughout this day, which witnessed a protest movement and road blocking, called for by the public transport sector.
Minister Mawlawi also informed President Aoun of what the Ministry of Interior is doing in the electoral process, after the issuance of a decree calling on electoral bodies to open the door for nominations.
In addition, Minister Mawlawi stressed that “The security situation is very tight and the security apparatuses keep pace with the movements, based on the instructions I gave them yesterday afternoon”.
“Keeping up with the movements is good and coordination between the various security apparatuses was good to protect citizens and ensure freedom of demonstration in safety, stability and protection” Mawlawi said.
Moreover, the Interior Minister emphasized that “The electoral process will take place, and no one should be afraid that the elections will not take place”, calling on the citizens and candidates to work and prepare for the elections.
After the meeting, the Interior Minister made the following statement: “I was honored today to meet His Excellency the President.
I briefed his Excellency on the security situation, in light of the reports I received since the dawn of today, and the follow-ups to the security situation that I personally carried out with all the security apparatuses on the ground and their leaders, from yesterday afternoon until today.
Some of the events that happened yesterday evening are unfortunate, especially in terms of exposure to some public properties and public utilities that are for all citizens. Exposure to property does not affect and does not lead to the achievment of citizens’ demands. We ask citizens to be more protective of private and public properties. Public utilities are to serve citizens.
I also briefed His Excellency on security reports that I have received since this morning until now, and thank God the security situation is very good. Roads have been cut off, but the security situation is very tight and the security apparatuses are keeping pace with the movements, according to the instructions I gave them yesterday afternoon. Keeping pace with the movements was good, and coordination between the various security services was good to protect citizens and ensure freedom of demonstration in safety, stability and protection.
His Excellency, the president has also set the tone for the ongoing preparations for the electoral process. After the issuance of the decree calling on electoral bodies, we set the deadline for the start of candidacy, which started on the 10th of this month, and therefore the electoral process, the preparations for it, and the measures that the Ministry of Interior must take to accomplish it, are carried out in accordance with the law and with full transparency. We do all that is required of us.
Asked about some incidents which took place today, where weapons were raised, and whether it was possible to hold demonstrations without closing the roads, Minister Mawlawi replied: “We always call for the protection of freedom of expression and that it is not accompanied by inconvenience or harassment of citizens. This day passed very well, and we knew about the limited incident and we followed-up on it. We have to bear the citizens, and we have called on the security services to do so. The citizens are going through difficult circumstances, and we are all on their side. We have to bear each other within respect of the law”.
Asked about some people’s claim that the decree calling for the electoral bodies contains a legal error with which it is feared that it will be challenged and that the parliamentary elections may be distorted. The Interior Minister replied: “Let them tell us where the error is, and what it is. In any case, the preparations are complete, and the decree calling on the electoral bodies does not contain any problem. The electoral process is in place, and no one has to be afraid that the elections will not happen. As the Minister of the Interior, I confirm that the elections will take place, and the electoral process is in place and there is no doubt about that, so let the citizens and candidates be reassured, and work and prepare for elections”.
Concerning municipal elections, Minister Mawlawi said: “I will raise this issue to the Council of Ministers and also to the Parliament to take the appropriate decision”