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mashnoug aounLebanon’s Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq denied on Monday tackling the issue of presidential election during his meeting was Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun at his residence in Rabieh

He stressed that that consultations and dialogue with Aoun are aimed at maintaining stability in the country.

“Dialogue is ongoing between us. It has so far achieved cabinet stability and facilitated the success of the security plan,” Mashnouq said after talks with Aoun

Mashnouq, a key member of the Future Movement stressed on the other hand that his bloc will not abandon the March 14 alliance and that Samir Geagea remains its only presidential candidate.”

“We will not abandon on our alliance with the March 14 coalition and (Lebanese Forces leader) Samir Geagea is still our (presidential) candidate.”

Mashnouq also denied reports claiming that he urged Prime Minister Tammam Salam to form a small-member cabinet. “The reports are unfounded, I only called for the formation of an emergency cell.”

Last week the Lebanese parliament failed for the sixth time in a row to hold a session to elect the country’s new president to replace Michel Suleiman whose terms ended on May 25.

As in the previous sessions , the vote could not be held as lawmakers allied with the Iranian backed Hezbollah militant group boycotted the voting for lack of agreement on a consensus president.

There are serious concerns that a prolonged vacuum at the Baabda presidential place would affect Lebanon’s power-sharing system under which the president should be a Christian Maronite, the speaker a Muslim Shiite and the PM a Muslim Sunni.

After Geagea secured 48 votes last April 23, the Hezbollah led March 8 alliance including Aoun walked out from the parliament to make sure there was no quorum to elect a president. The March 8 alliance continued its boycott of the parliament during the 5 other sessions that followed .

Aoun has not announced his candidacy but he aspires to become a consensual nominee and has reportedly been waiting for former PM MP Saad Hariri to back him , but so far the Future Movement leader along with his March 14 allies is sticking with Geagea.

Geagea challenged Aoun to run against him or move on to plan B which calls for agreeing on a consensual candidate , Lebanese media reported last month.

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