Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea said that he was a natural choice for Lebanese president and stated that if he was elected he would force Hezbollah to withdraw from Syria.
“We need a president with a clear political program, and of course I will [force] Hezbollah out of Syria if I become president… When a president who presents matters clearly arrives, all parties will adopt his opinion,” Geagea told Al-Arabiya television in an interview on Wednesday.
“Some believe the president has no authority because there has been no effective president since the Taif [agreement on 1990.] This time we will endeavor to produce a strong president. Then we shall see if he has authority or not.”
The LF leader also expressed his hope that “MPs will be able to keep to the constitutional time-frame for election of a new president” and said that although he is a natural candidate for the presidency, he is still waiting for the right moment to officially announce his campaign.
“I am a natural candidate for the presidency. I am the leader of the most popular party with Christians as surveys have shown.”
“However, I am waiting for the [most] opportune moment to officially announce [my] candidacy.”
He went on to criticize Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun’s proposal of a parliamentary trio including himself as president, Saad Hariri as prime minister and a strong Shiite figure as Speaker.
“It is wrong to link the presidency with anything else or any other power.”
The LF leader also commented on Hariri’s remarks concerning the “strongest Christian [candidate],” saying that “Hariri should be asked that question.”
He added that if he and Aoun were to compete for the presidency swing votes would come from centralists in Walid Jumblatt’s bloc and independent MPs from Tripoli.
“[There are] around ten [swing] votes from [MPs] considered centralists. They include Walid Jumblatt’s bloc and independent [MPs] from Tripoli.”
President Michel Suleiman’s term ends on May 25. Lebanon’s constitution stipulates that between March 25 and May 15, the parliament can convene at any time to elect a new president.
If it has not done so, on May 15 the parliament will be considered automatically in session for the following 10 days, in which a new president must be elected.