Friends, ladies and gentlemen,

Loyalty dictates that I first and foremost convey my deep appreciation to the people of Beirut for their loyalty, dignity and patriotism. My appreciation to this extended family, my brothers and sisters, the sons and daughters of Beirut who took the decisive decision and elected the Dignity Lists in all three districts culminating in a unanimous victory unprecedented in the capitalís political history.

From the bottom of my heart I thank all the families of Beirut, the sons of Beirut, the daughters of Beirut. The appreciation is from me, personally, and on behalf of  Dr. Ghinwa Jalloul and the excellencies the elected MPs, to this loyal city, which vested its confidence in us and voted for us, proving beyond any doubt that this city will remain the cornerstone of Lebanonís political and public life.

On this day, I cannot forget all the faces that accompanied us during the election campaign, those people who fought the battle, neighborhood to neighborhood, house to house, professionally shouldering their responsibilities.

I will not forget the voices that shouted for the dignity of Beirut, the hands that were raised for the triumph of Beirutís dignity and the homes whose doors and windows were opened and whose walls were torn down for the dignity of Beirut.

I thank all those who have shed a single drop of sweat for the dignity of Beirut.

I thank the thousands of volunteers who worked day and night.

I thank the ailing and the elderly who went through the trouble of commuting to vote for the victory of Beirutís dignity.

I thank all those who donned the gown of dignity, the cap of dignity so the voice of dignity may rise.

And thanks to the news media and to all the journalists who have in recent months accompanied us and tirelessly reported the developments of one of Lebanonís most significant political developments.

 

Ladies and gentlemen,

Today we should not celebrate the victory for ourselves. This is a is victory achieved in the parliamentary elections which must be used to move forward. The victory must be used to strengthen Lebanonís stature and ease its social and economic crisis.

In this context, I would like to stress to the Lebanese public in general, and to Beirut in particular, the following:

First: The overwhelming support offered to the Dignity Lists in all three districts in Beirut, leaves me personally, and all the elected MPs, facing enormous national and personal responsibilities. These require doubling our efforts in the defense of the rights of Beirut, and pursuing the needs of its development and services to recover its leading national role and its cultural, humanitarian and economic stature.

Our promise to the sons of Beirut will be never to waver. Our work in the service of this beloved city and its humble people will continue, God willing. The Dignity bloc in Parliament will have a specific program, coupled with a hands-on follow-up process in all that concerns Beirut, its sons and its national role.

Second: The trust which Beirutís citizens and those in other areas invested in us provides an opportunity for extending the hand of cooperation to everyone, to clear the way for turning a new page of political discourse and political relations between all those involved in national public affairs.

We look forward to a new era of active internal dialogue and the expansion of participation in the revival of the national reconstruction drive. 

My hand is extended to all the political leaderships and my colleagues in Parliament for cooperation in shouldering the responsibility of resurrecting Lebanon and restoring its presence on the Arab, regional and international political map.

Third: Confidence in Lebanon, in its constitutional institutions, is unequivocal. This can be achieved through absolute respect for the Constitution, the protection of public freedoms and the right to free expression and unwavering commitment to the independence of the judiciary by granting the judicial institutions, in word and in practice, full autonomy.

Restoring confidence in Lebanon requires that we, the Lebanese, first gain confidence in our country, in our role and in our future.

I donít believe that Lebanonís role is over. I believe Lebanonís role is continuing and has developed in different aspects. It must develop further to catch up with the changes occurring in the region and in the world.

We must develop our economic relations with Arab countries and lift the many barriers that exist in our laws and regulations that have accumulated over the years so we may activate the economy and provide work opportunities for the youth.

We must tear down the barriers facing the importers, the merchants, the industrialists, the exporters and the investors. We must reconsider laws that paralyze the administration and negatively influence investments.

We must encourage qualitative agriculture and qualitative industry, find the appropriate markets for both and allocate the necessary funds for the agriculture and the industry in fiscal budgets starting with that of 2001.

With a comprehensive development plan for improving conditions, we must devote special attention to underprivileged regions in the North, the Bekaa, the Mountains, and in particular Bint-Jbeil, Iqlim al-Kharroub and the South, with the liberated areas being a top priority.

Fourth: The results of parliamentary elections nationwide should lay the foundations for sound parliamentary life. The representatives of the people carry their hopes at the legislative level. Citizens are aspiring for the development of the legislative process and for disassociating it from narrow political interests on the national level so Parliament may assume its role in bolstering and activating national accord and a respect for the spirit and text of  the law and the Constitution.

I congratulate all the colleagues who triumphed in the parliamentary elections, and I would like to single out our allies in Mount Lebanon, the North, the Bekaa and the South. I urge the parliamentary blocs to join forces and improve political performance to counter the many anticipated challenges on the domestic and external levels.

Fifth: The latest elections were the fruit of a democratic system, which is safeguarded by the people and which will neither be violated nor weakened, irrespective of wrong practices. Had it not been for this system, had it not been for the democratic spirit that is deeply engrained in the conscience of the Lebanese, the elections would not have survived the campaigns that sought to tarnish Lebanon and its democratic image.

It is necessary to protect the existing system and to reject any attempts to shake its foundations. This is a non-negotiable national priority that represents the other aspect of political, personal and economic freedoms which are the first line of defense - for Lebanon, the mission; Lebanon, the role and Lebanon, the state.

The parliamentary elections in Beirut took place in an atmosphere of tension and skepticism over the neutrality of the state. There was an endless stream of rumors and predictions of imminent problems that would occur during the polls, the vote-counting process and finally the announcement of the results.

In reality, the smooth election process was felt by citizens and observers alike. I would like to praise the neutrality of his excellency, the president, and the government, the Interior Ministry in particular, during the election process. I also laud the security authorities, especially the army, for the high level of responsibility displayed in carrying out its duties. The same applies to the administrative and judicial institutions. All these are worthy of praise and appreciation.

 

Ladies and gentlemen,

We want our national vision for completing the construction of a modern, strong and democratic state to complement the vision of all those working for the revival of Lebanon.

The Lebanese are asking their Parliament for realistic solutions to the difficult crises with which they are grappling. The remedies are not impossible. They can be achieved if all the officials and leaderships pool their resources.

A significant challenge lies ahead, a significant challenge to the new Parliament. Our bet will remain that the Lebanese people, who have confronted many difficulties and challenges in the past, will rise to the occasion again.

I thank the loyal Beirut

I thank you all