SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 23 January 2022, Sunday |

Gebran Bassil’s ‘diplomacy’, and his control over the consuls

The Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants Gebran Bassil waged a battle three years ago to appoint dozens of consuls. He risked in this behavior his relationship with Hezbollah who got disappointed by Bassil’s exclusivity in appointing the consuls, therefore, his relationship with Amal movement further deteriorated because he tried to “reach a hand” to the “Shiite plate”, especially that the largest share from the consular is for President Nabih Berri.

Bassil, behind his adherence to the selection of consuls, was aware that these are not only “diplomatic keys” but also “electoral keys,” which he planted in spring 2018, hoping to harvest in spring 2022. He supplemented these appointments with a significant number of expatriate energy conferences that were closer to the Free Patriotic Movement’s (FPM) conferences rather than the official conferences, because these conferences were boycotted more than once in African countries where the Lebanese communities are affiliated to the Amal movement.

The expatriate energy conferences receded with the failure of the last conference that was about to be held in an African country, and due to the outbreak of October 17 revolution, where the expatriate arena was evacuated for the revolution groups, while the role of the consuls remained unchanged “in the service of Gebran Bassil”, especially among those who owe allegiance to him, and those who would not have been appointed without Bassil’s approval and his endorsement of their names.

These days, Bassil has started to reap what he sowed in embassies and consulates, after the numbers of expatriates in the 2018 elections were encouraging for the FPM, which came in second place after the Lebanese Force in the votes of the expatriates, but with a small difference, as the movement won 8,206 votes while the forces won 8,568 votes. For this reason, Bassil doubled his interest in the consuls, seeking to win the lion’s share in the 2022 elections.

But Bassil’s calculations did not come true because the expatriates’ opinions in 2021 and subsequently, in 2022, changed from 2018, for the following considerations:

Gebran Bassil, has been subjected to US sanctions, and the expatriate side has become more cautious in dealing with him. The appeal submitted by the movement that the registered expatriates elect six representatives abroad not 128 deputies is a frustration for the expatriates.

It was proven that most of the consuls appointed were for “mutual benefits” between the appointee and the appointed, rather than serving the expatriates, as much as it was to serve the one who appointed him and plead for his consent.

The expatriate voting next year will constitute the “expatriate face” of the October 17 revolution.