Not Geagea, not Aoun: Patriarch al-Rai says neither leader will be elected president

The four Maronite Christian leaders during a meeting at Bkirki with Patriarch Rai in March 2014. A Bkirki media spokesman told reporters that all four of the Maronite leaders, Marada Movement chief Suleiman Franjieh (R) Change and Reform bloc chief MP Michel Aoun ( 2nd R) , Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea( 2nd from L) and former Phalange Party chief Amin Gemayel (L) , are presidential candidates in the elections.

rai w geagea gemayel aoun franjiehMaronite Patriarch Beshara Boutros al-Rai said he expected that neither Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea nor Change and Reform bloc leader MP Michel Aoun would become president.

“The president must be consensual and accepted by the people so that he can gather warring parties instead of creating a new crisis,” Rai told Al-Joumhouria newspaper in remarks published Thursday.

However, Rai stressed that Bkirki did not support a certain presidential candidate.

“There are general characteristics that the [president] must have…he should have strong morals, integrity, history, faith in the Lebanese state as well as regional and international ties so that he can restore the role of state institutions and lead the country in the difficult times,” he said.

The patriarch also called on Speaker Nabih Berri to hold a parliamentary session to elect a new president.

Lebanon is set to elect a new head of state prior to the end of President Michel Suleiman’s mandate, which expires on May 25, to avoid any presidential vacuum.

The 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 by May 15, the parliament will be considered automatically in session for the following 10 days, in which a new president must be elected.

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