"The Elections: Confrontation with Self, Rivals, and Enemies"
 By: General Michel Aoun
 (Translated by: Elias Bejjani)
 1 May 1998
 The Lebanese people have lived through events which destroyed their prosperity, impoverished them, and dragged their political system back to the darkness of the Middle Ages. These events were the product of unfavorable domestic and international political conditions. External conditions were the primary impetus underlying these events, while an alliance of political, feudal and financial opportunists in Lebanon became internal catalysts serving foreign political agendas. This alliance was the means both for fuelling the war and ruling the country. It's present manifestation is the three-headed political beast known as the "troika."
 The upcoming municipal elections will take place under difficult circumstances. It shall be the first real confrontation between the troika and the free citizens of Lebanon who proudly reject poverty, fanaticism, collaboration and treachery.
 We call upon the Lebanese to work hard for change, recognizing that this election process is the right channel through which change can happen. Citizens must bravely and intelligently exercise their free will. It should be fully clear that change can be hazardous if we decline to learn from past events and if we blindly surrender to the old political choices based on same criteria that led us and the country to the catastrophic status quo.
 Our first obligation is to reject dual election choices inherited in every village and town by electing this or that nominee in accordance with tradition. We must break with this routine path and open the doors for our young educated generation in order to inject new blood into our political life. Let new faces emerge who have the education, the integrity, and the abilities to assume decision-making positions.
 The second obligation is to rejecting political programs representing the current regime that has betrayed the country, surrendered our nation's independence, and abdicated its sovereignty. This authority is represented by both the regime officials and by pseudo "opposition" figures who have colluded with the regime. Those phony opposition leaders collaborate with the occupier by diverting the people's vote from genuine opposition, as was the case in the last parliamentary elections. They call for "change from within" although they are fully aware that change cannot take place from within a puppet system.
 Our third obligation is to reject the rich who pursue their will to power under the guise of public service. They pretend to be generous and satisfied with what they have, while in reality their only objective is to increase their own fortunes. They deal with the people as if they are customers and enslave them under the pretense of helping them satisfy their needs. Avoid these figures and do not give them the chance to cheat you through their promises of prosperity--remember always where their past promises have led the country. Whether in the villages or in the country as a whole, these people are cut from the same mold.
 Avoid electing nominees for what they have in their pockets, for what is in their pockets is for them and not for you. Elect nominees for what is in their hearts, conscience and minds, for those are yours. Strive to elect decent nominees who have the will to work hard for you and your villages. Their honor and dignity shield them from pettiness gives them the capacity to execute and achieve.