Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea said Thursday said following talks with Maronite Patriarch Beshara Boutros Rai in Bkirki that he is ready to withdraw from the presidential race in favor of a consensus candidate.
“I will withdraw my candidacy if consensus is reached on another March 14 figure,” Geagea said and added :
” I am ready to accept any proposal to avoid vacuum.”
Geagea added: ” Rai did not mention any names. He only cares that the elections are held and will therefore make contacts with the involved officials to salvage the elections.”
He stressed that his candidacy is not a challenge to anyone and that his program is clear.
“My candidacy is not a challenge to anyone. My program is clear.”
Lebanon Parliament failed again on Wednesday to elect a new president to replace Michel Suleiman due to lack of quorum amid warnings of a possible vacuum at Baabda Palace.
Suleiman’s term ends on May 25 and this is the third time in a row that the parliament failed to elect a new president.
Speaker Nabih Berri set May 15 as a new session of voting after the March 8 lawmakers again boycotted the elections.
In the first round of the polls on April 23, Geagea won 48 votes , while centrist nominee Henri Helou won 16 votes and 52 MPs cast blank ballots and then pulled out of the session to make sure there is no quorum for a second round .
March 14 has on several occasions asked the Hezbollah led March 8 alliance to field a candidate , but the alliance so far refused to announce its candidate and is insisting on having a consensus president.
“Why does March 8 refrain from announcing the name of its presidential candidate? March 8 has never believed in consensus nor ever allowed the logic of consensus to prevail. Would they accept application of consensus to decisions of war and peace, fighting in Syria, or illegal weapons?” A possible reference to Hezbollah’s war in 2006 with Israel and current role in the Syrian civil war. Geagea said yesterday in reaction to the boycott of the elections .
FPM leader MP Michel Aoun is reportedly March 8 undeclared candidate , but according to observers he is far from ever being considered a consensus candidate .