The following is the full text of Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah's speech
Today as Lebanese, we stand before significantly important parliamentary elections coming shortly...tonight I would like to speak on the election issue under a variety of titles, and at the end I would like to announce the names of the brothers, the candidates from Hizbullah's leadership to be engaged in the next parliamentary elections.
In the first title, I want to address the public en mass...
The upcoming elections are very important, just like elections all over the world; the Lebanese elections should be democratic, because elections result in a new Parliament and therefore a new government. Thus, we are renewing our ruling system; we either bring in new political life or extend the life of the old.
The Parliament is an important institution in the Lebanese system. The Parliament elects the President, appoints the Prime Minister, gives its confidence to the cabinet, and plays an important role in all legislative fields, decrees public policies and annual budgets.
When the opposition said in a speech that the elections are not historical or fateful, this does not mean they are not very important. Those who describe the elections as historical or fateful imagine the parliamentary elections are capable of changing the face of Lebanon, its position or identity, when such matters are not governed by parliamentary elections.
In all cases, we view the elections as very important and the Lebanese people's duty and national duty dictates that we all take part and vote in the elections and bring about new MPs to form a parliament which has this sensitive and crucial position in the Lebanese system in general.
The second title: Our Electoral Program
We completed our electoral program in the last few days. Naturally, any political movement wanting to run for elections usually presents a program expressing their forecasts, thoughts and things they aspire to accomplish during their term in parliament in the coming years.
Considering this program's importance and the time needed to read it out and provide an opportunity for questions and answers, it will be announced and read at a news conference or in a public gathering within the next few days by brother, MP Hajj Mohammad Raad, the head of Loyalty to the Resistance Parliamentary bloc.
Of course, the electoral program includes an important political introduction containing some of Hizbullah's basic perceptions on the general situation in the country under different headings:
Political Reform includes:
The political cause
Administrative Reform: includes a group of details
Economic and Financial Reform: of course the perception we will be providing will need to be read, contemplated and discussed
Civil Society organizations
Protection of the citizens' privacy
Improve and develop social services
Energy and the protection of resources
This is only a group of headings within an electoral program well compressed into nine pages drawn from our revision of the absented Imam, Sayyed Mousa al-Sadr's experience, plan, approach, speeches and talks, who was in fact ahead of his time.
It includes the political discourse and perceptions of Hizbullah since the its launch until the electoral platform we presented in 1992, throughout all the ensuing elections, and based on the Memorandum of Understanding between Hizbullah and the Free Patriotic Movement, based also on the common principles among the forces of the opposition, the stands and perceptions they expressed over the past few years, especially in the last two years...
Based on all of these understandings, facts, speeches, and common principles, we wrote this program...
The mentioned program obligates only Hizbullah and does not oblige our allies in the national opposition.
However, after head of the Loyalty to the Resistance bloc, MP Hajj Raad reads out the electoral program, our allies will find also expresses their views, and that there is no point of incompatibility or contradiction between our views and the programs offered by any opposition movement or party.
God willing, we will deliver speeches in a semi-weekly or weekly basis on electoral issues until Election Day. I will present an explanation to these forecasts; our first meeting is expected to be within a few days after the electoral program is read out.
I will address the two perceptions of the political system, the proportional confessional democracy, relative majority rule vs. opposition minority, topics concerning political authority and systems, our political vision for this country and how this county can progress and develop, etc...
The third title:
Although, in any given election, political forces and personalities present electoral programs, but most often even in established democracies people elect candidates based on credibility and trust worthiness more than according to their electoral program...The essential issue now is credibility, and whether this or that side with this or that speech and candidates, is credible, trustworthy and honest, if it comes good on promises and pledges made?
This is a very sensitive subject and I believe most elections in Lebanon, from the first time they were held in the country until today, elections have been based on a perception of the leadership, the chief, leader or leaders, or political context more than on reading the political program of competing sides. At minimum, the elections we have experienced have been thus, and this now is no different.
A lot of people present electoral programs, and once elected they abandon the programs they were elected for and even work in an opposite or different direction to what they had promised, or at minimum they do not fulfill promises they made the people during their election campaigns.
Therefore, the main issue is one of reliability and credibility of the side presenting itself, its candidates, program and perceptions to the people, and the question here is 'What does this or that side represent to the people?' In light of the answer to this question can people make their stand and give their opinion.
As in all past elections, we in Hizbullah engage in these elections as a side known for its history in Jihad, politics, societal and in struggle at both levels the nation and the wider community.
We represent a side that has its accomplishments, but certainly we do not say we do not make mistakes, this is impossible since we are human, but the predominant aspects this Resistance movement and path are known by are its credibility, trust, honesty, transparency, loyalty and fidelity, known for making good on its promises, for its accomplishments at both national and wider community levels, and in fact some of its achievements are historical in the full sense of the word.
Therefore, from this position of trust first and foremost, in addition to the electoral program secondly, we run for elections in the forthcoming election with our candidates, whom I will talk about later.
Of course it is because of this point that you notice efforts spent by some parties trying to stain Hizbullah's image whether in Lebanon, the Arab world or the larger community.
There are states and media outlets with huge financial capabilities, which possess intelligence apparatus and specialized centers that work on staining this image...But thanks to God Almighty, they have failed to a very large degree until now.
Even in Lebanon, you notice everything that going on, yet there are political and media sides who go on accusing Hizbullah without any scrutiny or immediate investigation. In other words Hizbullah is accused of any crime until Hizbullah proves its innocence. This is injustice.
I believe the existence of a concentrated supervised scheme with huge funding, by more than one side in the world, particularly in Lebanon and especially the Arab World, working on tarnishing Hizbullah's image, whose picture remains shining, as it offered the Lebanese and the whole community historic achievements and victories that made them preserve dignity and pride.
The fourth title:
Our goal in these parliamentary elections is for the national opposition to win the required larger number of parliamentary seats. This is certainly a national goal not a partisan, factional, regional, confessional or sectarian goal, nor is it a Jihad goal, because for the opposition to gain parliamentary majority in the coming House is connected with securing or protecting large national, political, economical and societal options.
It is also closely related to Hizbullah's manners.
Speaking of options, this requires broader more detailed illustration, but something has been very clear for a long time in that Lebanon with its current composition and this sectarian system (no one can tell us that our current system is free and democratic as all those democracies of the whole world)...
We have a confessional system; we also have a democracy or elections within the framework of confessional and sectarian distribution-system.
Whether we like it or not, sectarian and confessional quotas exist in this sectarian system which effectively presently still exists.
We accept the existing formula in the country, we are convinced that in the interests of the country's future to address its problems, stability, security and safety the country's strength lies in internal understanding among the Lebanese, a co-sharing of governing its affairs under the motto of "shoulder to shoulder - arm in arm."
For the opposition to acquire parliamentary majority keeps a wide door open in front of a real national government of partnership, conversely if current parliamentary majority regain majority, they would close the door to a government of national partnership.
The issue here is this: in the opposition's program they talk about partnership and in the pro-government camp there is talk of a governing majority versus an opposing minority, knowing that these standards and measures are not accurate and I will address them at a later time, God willing.
Hence, Lebanon's opportunity is in the formation of a Lebanese partnership government, an opportunity for all to participate and contribute comes from the opposition winning parliamentary majority. From here we say: in order to prevent the mentality of exclusivity and monopolization, to open the door for everyone's participation in governing the country's affairs, we believe interest lies in the opposition winning the parliamentary majority, because it is serious and sincere in its promises and obligations to form a government of national unity, or to forge a national agreement after the elections giving the other side the guaranteeing-third in Cabinet representation, or based on parliamentary bloc representation in the next government, according to parliamentary sizes.
The fifth title:
This title branches out from the fourth title. As long as our aim is for the opposition to win, the number of seats reserved for the opposition remains essentially our concern and our goal remains for the opposition to win the largest number of seats possible.
Hizbullah does not seek to increase its number of MPs in its bloc even though it is able to do so, in other words we do not want to make this increase out of inability to do so, but because we see a different priority now.
We do not object, even affirm that the number in the Loyalty to the Resistance bloc may be dropped in favor of our allies in the opposition, but there is a point I like to make clear, that we certainly cannot reduce our bloc to a point that it can be marginalized or weakened.
This is the case not for wanting to hold onto parliamentary seats but for several reasons, first of which is that this case differs from Ministerial positions and the Cabinet.
You saw us in relation to positions in the Cabinet, although we were entitled to name three ministers we preferred other opposition parties to name two of the three from our quota; unfortunately this is the structure of the country, and this example is a witness to us no holding onto or positions of power, in Cabinet or authority.
On the other hand the parliamentary issue is related to parliamentary representation and the picture that can be reflected in the Arab world and abroad, even in Lebanon. Unfortunately as I was saying before about the media and that there are no ethical criteria, because for example no one will come out tomorrow to say that ‘Hizbullah accepted less than its quota of representation because it placed its allies before itself', but rather they will work in the entire world on saying ‘Hizbullah's popularity dropped and their option abandoned by its people', that ‘the Resistance is not a popular choice and therefore is no longer wanted.'
You know there people now in the media or on the internet chiseling out fables and imaginings in this regard.
Additionally, while Hizbullah leadership was able to control the issue of Cabinet appointments with ease, the parliamentary subject concerns our support base, who at the end of the day wishes to have their say; they have a conviction, they want real and serious representation in Parliament. Generally speaking I do not need to go deeply into explaining this matter nor defend it, but this is our limit.
We do not want to increase our number of seats, to the contrary, we are ready to forsake some of our seats for the interests of our allies, but to an extent that does not harm our parliamentary bloc's image, size and effectiveness in parliament.
Furthermore, regarding some of our allies who are allocated placements in the lists of the Loyalty to the Resistance bloc, we have already given everyone our answers; in other words, anyone expecting to occupy seats in the Loyalty to the Resistance bloc has been informed of the seat he will be given for a while now.
Others among friendly political forces anticipating to get seats in this bloc have also been informed of our love, support, loyalty, honesty, concern and cooperation.
Naturally of course we apologized even though they still have a week during which they can make their choice whether they will be running for elections, the districts in which they will be running and what it is they wish to accomplish through their program.
The sixth title:
This is related to the agitated atmosphere around the opposition and the opposition's lists of candidates and leaderships.
Of course since the beginning, that is from the end of the July 2006 war and the launch of the National Lebanese Opposition as we know it, certain sides have focused through the media on an untrue depiction, that Hizbullah was the leader of the opposition, through which they intended to insult the other political movements and currents in the opposition by labeling them as dependent on or attached to Hizbullah and the like, of course this characterization is incorrect.
I do not know if they have something of this sort in the loyalists' camp, I do not want to accuse them of anything, but as far as the opposition is concerned the matter has not been thus, not for a moment, and now in relation to the parliamentary elections there is no leader for the opposition, not Hizbullah nor anyone else.
Forces exist in the opposition in the various electorates, we cooperate and deliberate, particularly where there are difficulties, which is natural, because in the end there are a limited number of districts and seat allocations and a large number of candidates expect to make it to parliament. This too is normal according to political life, but no one imposes anything on the other.
In relation to Hizbullah in particular, we do not intervene in naming candidates of the allies within the opposition, contrary to what is written in newspapers or is mentioned in some media outlets, we have not put a veto on any candidate, and everyone in the opposition is our friend and ally.
If one is my ally and friend and so is the other, why should I put a veto on any of them? This is a logical and rational manner.
Naturally, regarding districts within which lists are formed, whereby our constituency is the weighing factor, it is natural to consult but even then, where there is a seat for a particular party in a list we are forming, it is not for us to name that party's candidate, we respect our alliance of parties and forces, and therefore it is they who name their candidates.
I liked to stress this point, because harm is often done to us and our allies, some people imagine that we are the one nominating candidates or putting vetoes, this is untrue and has not happened in any of the districts.
We are all committed to voting for the opposition's lists of candidates in all districts where Hizbullah has supporters. We will logistically support all our allies even where Hizbullah doesn't have candidates running.
I like to stress to you that in a number of districts we do not participate even on consultative levels because the active political forces in every electorate district have better knowledge of their district's details such as electoral calculations, endorsement capabilities and rallying weight according to the election operation.
But we, along with our supporters, are committed to back our allies lists all over Lebanon in all districts where we have supporters, and accordingly, it is extremely natural that in each district even where we do not have candidates we still back candidates who support the opposition's lists.
It is a natural right to have a polling station where we have voters to work in the elections, to support our allies. This is our national duty and ethical duty toward our allies and the objective we seek.
Our goal is not to assemble a large bloc in the house of reps, but to assemble a parliamentary majority for the opposition, and I will work towards this goal to achieve this objective.
Some criticized us for having electoral machines in some areas. In this regard, I think humanly, ethically and according to law we are equal according to our duties and obligations, this is how it supposed to be.
We are citizens. In some districts we have voters. It is our natural right to form polling station posts and to lobby. This is not a provocation to anyone since we are just like everyone else, eligible to have a electoral machine in polling places where we have voters.
Second last title:
Introduction to candidacy
Our candidacy selection process usually includes a group of considerations. This is of course directed to the Lebanese in general and our supporters in particular.
The principal point - is that when we choose candidates we do not select family candidates, of course with all due respect to families, nor clans', towns' and city's candidates, in other words our candidates are not nominated by this or that village, city or family etc... these are Hizbullah's candidates, the party you know selected them, Hizbullah the resistance, the political force, the organization, the public movement, it is this Hizbullah which you know who chose candidates who enjoy party confidence that they can represent it in the coming parliamentary elections, not according to the village, city, family or clan basis.
The second point- parliamentary seats are not awards or consolation prizes to anyone; an MP is one of Hizbullah's positions of responsibility. There are huge responsibility posts in Hizbullah; being an MP is one of them. Therefore we place additional burdens and responsibility on any brother we nominate for MP candidate. We tell them 'you will be held accountable on the Day of Judgment, the public may or may not call you to account here in this life, but on Day of Judgment God the exalted does.'
We add the burden of responsibility on the brothers we nominate, therefore, even spiritually and ethically, we say that the nominated brother rather than feel jubilant should sense the burden of responsibility and the brothers relieved from that responsibility should be delighted because a part of that responsibility they have been carrying is now removed, hence his stand between the hand of God on Judgment Day is shorter than he who carries additional responsibilities.
Therefore, the subject is not about prizes. Had we worked on giving rewards the criteria would have been completely different.
The third point - Hizbullah is working on huge matters such as the Resistance, our organization and institutions. These are all a part of our responsibilities, and consequently when we run for parliamentary elections or cabinet we have to balance between posts of responsibilities and making sure all posts are filled, whether on Jihad, organizational, administrative, political or parliamentary levels.
We cannot utilize our entire leadership crew in parliamentary elections, because there are other more sensitive and important posts and definitely more dangerous and important ones to fill as well.
That is why we are a movement that moves in a balanced, integrated and cohesive fashion. Our concern at each of the stages is the allocation of our leadership cadres in a way that achieves the purpose and preserves a balance of requirements and generally fulfils them for the organization.
The last point in the preface to the candidates list:
The brothers whose names I will announce, as in previous occasions, are the candidates of Hizbullah leaders. In other words Hizbullah leadership nominates these candidates for these districts according to a group of standards, criteria, remarks and according to our perception of the political, national and regional levels for the coming phase.
We see that the image of our bloc has to take this form.
These brothers are to fill the posts of this parliamentary bloc. Accordingly we present their names based on careful consideration, merits and qualifications; they have Hizbullah's confidence and habilitation. The expression of 'merits' or 'qualifications' of the brothers nominated to assume the responsible roles in a parliamentary bloc is in order for it to carry its role in the nation's House of Representatives.
We present them to the people, we respect the people's say and will, and we hope they obtain the people's confidence and satisfaction, usually expressed through polling.
In the beginning, I must thank brother MP Hajj Hassan Hobballah for his efforts and highlight his dedication. In the Tyre district, we nominate MP Hajj Mohammad Fneish and brother Sayyed Nawwaf Moussawi.
You will notice that the brothers that bear organizational responsibilities will be relieved of these responsibilities in the same decree parallel with designating other officials in their places as to avoid a single moment of emptiness in our leadership positions.
As brother Sayyed Nawwaf Moussawi used to bear the responsibility of International Relations in Hizbullah, it has been decided that former MP brother Sayyed Ammar Moussawi is to hold that post.
Bint Jubeil District: brother Sayyed Hassan Fadlallah
Marjeyoun-Haasbayah District: We thank and congratulate the effort and sincerity of brother MP Hajj Mohammad Haidar, and nominate brother Dr. Ali Fayyad, formerly responsible for Hizbullah's Studies and Documentation Consultation Center whereby brother Sayyed Abdulhalim Fadlallah will take his post.
Baalbek -Hermel District: Our thanks and gratitude are presented to brother MP Dr. Jamal Takesh for his effort and genuineness. We, thus, nominate the following brothers: Sayyed Hussein Moussawi (Abu Hisham) who bore the responsibility of Hizbullah's municipality portfolio making way for brother Hajj Hossain el-Shami to take him place. We re-nominate MP Dr. Hossain Hajj Hassan, MP Nawwar Sahili, MP Dr. Ali Moqdad.
Baabda District: re-nominating MP brother Hajj Ali Ammar.
Beirut 2nd District: re-nominating MP Hajj Amin Cherri.
This is an attempt. Some of these brothers were in these posts before and some used to bear sensitive leadership roles in Hizbullah from the first few years fo its establishment. In the end, in what corresponds with the phase to come, we in Hizbullah have endeavored to present a leadership cadre with characteristing in conformity with our views of parliamentary, political work and the responsibilities that fall upon our shoulders in the period to come. As you may have observed, we attempt to continue looking upon the matter in the manner which realizes all the leadership and administrative requirements in Hizbullah.
Those brothers and us will, God willing, as will all the brothers in sacrificial and leadership posts in Hizbullah...will continue to work with our ausience and anyone who understands us, cooperates with us, or partners with us, or in the least bears with us. All our concern is summed in working for the best for this country, for its independence, dignity, and freedom...we are ready to make any required sacrifice, and in some cases unconditional sacrifices. We hope, God willing, after announcing our nominations that the brothers will become (more) present in the districts and communicate with people in person, talk to them and express their views and listen to what people have to say. This of course is within context of the activity of the electoral machine. God willing, I hope, as I do every time, that people and our blessed, faithful, sincere, genuine, sacrificing audience will do as they have every time: express their confidence.
I believe that Hizbullah's history, resistance, and accomplishments in addition to its nominations are worthy of achieving people's confidence...those people on whom we rely and depend, with whom we became one.
As to the opposition's lists, in every district there will be one announced...and neither I nor others will announce this to define the opposition's lists. In every district and in accordance with the makeup of the list there will be an announcement of the list consecutively as they become ready. My information is that in some districts the lists have been completed while they are still in need of discussions and communication (to complete the rest) in other districts. Hence, matters are being finalized so that we take our freedom in entering the electoral battle.
I ask Allah good fortune for our dear Lebanese people in this grave livelihood upcoming requirement, as well as good luck for all those whom are ready to work and sacrifice for the sake of Lebanon, not to sacrifice Lebanon for their own causes.