Former Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri on Lebanon’s 78th independence anniversary: Lebanon is more like a country standing on the borders of Hell

BEIRUT — With the end of the deadline given to Lebanese expatriates to register to vote in the upcoming parliamentary elections, the Lebanese Foreign Ministry reported that the number of those who registered exceeded expectations, reaching 244,442, compared to the 92,000 expatriate voters in 2018.

This difference reflects the enthusiasm of expatriates to participate in changing the domestic political landscape and to lift Lebanon out of its political and economic crises, said the minister, but given the increasing number of expatriates in recent years, the overall participation rate remains low.

The Universal Syriac Union Party (USUP) expressed support for opening the door for expatriates to participate in the elections given the pivotal role they have played in supporting their families financially and buttressing the Lebanese economy.

These developments coincide with the 78th anniversary of Lebanon’s independence from French colonialism.

Former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri said on this anniversary that Lebanon has become more like a state that stands on the borders of Hell than the paradise promised in the early days of independence as a result of national infighting and regional meddling. Lebanon must be a free and independent state, not a hostage to a party, sect, or platform for regional powers to pursue their own interests.

A number of Arab Gulf states sent congratulatory messages to Lebanese President Michel Aoun on the occasion of the anniversary of independence.

The Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Nayef al-Hajarf, said that the GCC countries have never abandoned Lebanon and that no one can underestimate the importance of the Council’s participation in helping Lebanon. However, at the same time, he stressed the Council’s rejection of any attack on the sovereignty and stability of the Arab Gulf states from Lebanese actors, specifically Hezbollah.