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October 18, 2004


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Officially launched DLM rejects current state of Syrian-Lebanese relations

The Democratic Left Movement (DLM) was officially launched on Sunday in a ceremony attended by 400 politicians and members of leftist, centrist and right-wing groups, such as the Progressive Socialist Party of Druze leader Walid Jumblat, Qornet Shahwan coalition and the Democratic Renewal Party of MP Nassib Lahoud, the local press including leftist daily As SafirR reported Monday. The movement's 77-member constituent assembly elected a 15-man Executive Committee, including Nadim Abdel Samad as president, and Elias Atallah the main driving force behind the movement, and Hikmat Eid, Anju Rihan, Ziad Majed and Ziad Saab as members. The movement includes several former members of the communist party and other communist organizations, as well as ex-activists in Lebanese leftist parties in addition to independent politicians. Notification to the interior ministry to make the movement legitimate is the next step on its agenda, the paper said.

Speaking at the ceremony held in Estral Theater in Hamra, Atallah said the movement is based on three main principles, notably "that we are preachers of real social and cultural change on the bases of democracy, national independence and reconciliation with the Arab nation and Arab nationalism." "Second we are preachers of cultural and ideological renaissance for the sake of secularism and political and religious reforms in the Arab east... Thirdly we believe in fighting for freedom and against tyranny and oppression," Atallah said. He blasted the selective and bad implementation of the 1989 Taif peace Accord, which had silenced the guns of the 1975-1990 civil strife. He said bad application "made the people and the nation face aggressive policies aimed at keeping them a tool to serve the ambitions of those who benefit from the existing Lebanese-Syrian fait accompli."

Atallah said the Democratic Left Movement brought together those who have opposed the existing political and economic conditions in the country and sought to make changes. "The opposition, which warned at an early stage of the dangers of extending the tragic situation in the country, has until this minute found no logical and convincing justification for the extension of the presidential term except that of harming the joint interests of the two countries (Lebanon and Syria) and subduing the will and hopes of the Lebanese people," he added.

Jumblat's Message

A message from Jumblat read out on his behalf by PSP official Wael Abu Faour said, "With the official declaration of the Democratic Left Movement, we renew together our partnership in combating the Israeli enemy, in supporting the Palestinian people and in struggling to achieve social justice and equality. We also renew our partnership for struggle for the sake of a democratic and Arab Lebanon, and for reactivating political life and reforming and developing the political system in Lebanon," the speech said.

On his part, MP Nassib Lahoud, stressed that the new Democratic Left Movement "adds a new momentum to the movement of democratic construction in Lebanon and is a booster for democracy and political development in the country." He said the new movement is aware of the challenges and missions awaiting those who are seeking to consolidate democracy and stability in the country, through reinforcing national unity, achieving independence and sovereignty and protecting constitutional life.

Samir Franjieh from the Qornet Shahwan coalition said the birth of the new movement "would give momentum to the opposition trend to which we belong." "It boosted the trend working on achieving freedom and justice without which freedom loses its humanitarian meaning and importance... It also gave momentum to the forces of change," Franjieh said.

Habib Sadek, head of the Democratic Forum, hailed on his part the variety within the overall leftist movement in Lebanon. He said the different leftist groups in the country should coordinate their work and activities in order to be more effective and gain more political weight. "We need flexible formulas for cooperation in order to agree on how to run a leftist coalition and how to solve differences."

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