'The Lebanese People . . . Made Their Choice'

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Hezbollah was expected to win the recent Lebanese elections, but the Lebanese people took to the streets and voted in droves for Saad Hariri's March 14th coalition. Last week Newsweek-The Post's Lally Weymouth talked by phone with Hariri.

Q. It seems like an astounding victory for the Lebanese people.

A. It is. At the end of the day, what is beautiful is that the Lebanese people went to the ballots and made their choice and it was loud and clear.

What do you think made them turn out in such large numbers?

We presented a very convincing campaign. All we wanted is Lebanon to come first. We talked about the economy and what the people really want -- jobs, an economy that is thriving and reforms within the government and a strong central government. Also we had a clear vision of what we wanted.

What was that vision?

The vision is that Lebanon should come before any [foreign] interest. We should concentrate on rebuilding the Lebanese Armed Forces and the Internal Security Forces to a level where there will be a stronger central government.

I heard there were posters in Beirut saying, "As long as the sky is blue, we will remember." They were thought to refer to Hezbollah's armed takeover of Beirut last May.

They referred to many things -- the assassinations, the instability . . .

The assassination of your father?

Samir Kassir, George Hawi, Pierre Gemayel, Gebran Tueni, Walid Eido -- all the March 14th Alliance martyrs who fell.

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