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FPM co-founder launches new political party.

Summary: Former Free Patriotic Movement co-founder and retired Gen. Issam Abu Jamra launched Thursday a new party called "The Independent Movement" and accused mainstream Lebanese political parties of affiliating themselves too deeply with foreign powers.

BEIRUT: Former Free Patriotic Movement co-founder and retired Gen. Issam Abu Jamra launched Thursday a new party called "The Independent Movement" and accused mainstream Lebanese political parties of affiliating themselves too deeply with foreign powers.

In a news conference held at the new party's headquarters in Baabda, Abu Jamra accused his former party of becoming "dependent on a regional axis" when it was originally created to fight against such dependences.

The retired general said MP Michel Aoun's party had also shifted from countering feudalism to becoming "the stronghold of feudalism," centered around one political family.

He invited all people with no affiliation with any of the mainstream political parties to join the new movement, saying "to all the free and the loyal in the country, we say: Come for the interest of all of Lebanon before freedom transforms into dependence, disrupting democracy becomes victory, money is lost to monopoly and politics becomes hereditary."

Abu Jamra clarified that his party stands against "all illegitimate weapons" and any intervention in foreign countries, an indirect reference to the FPM's ally Hezbollah.

"No to religion in politics, no to weapons outside the framework of the state and a thousand yeses to coexistence and equality between men and women," he said. "Lebanon is a nation for all its people without discrimination."

Abu Jamra's speech also touched on Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, who has been in office since 1992.

"Why don't we forbid the re-election of the Parliament speaker the same way we do for the president?" he wondered.

The 78-year-old retired general left the FPM in 2010 after his calls for drastic reforms within the party clashed with some its leadership.

Abu Jamra is a fierce critic of current Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, who is the son-in-law of Aoun. Abu Jamra accused Bassil of corruption in 2010 and said a "coup" against him should take place inside FPM.

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Publication:The Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon)
Geographic Code:7LEBA
Date:Mar 2, 2015
Words:363
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