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aoun geageaLebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea criticized Michel Aoun’s constitutional proposal as a distraction from current efforts to elect a president.

“The aim behind suggesting amendments to the constitution is to turn the attention away from the presidential election,” Geagea said at a press conference Wednesday. According to the Lebanese constitution, the presidential election is held by the parliament.

Geagea added that the Change and Reform bloc leader’s suggestion was unrealistic and “came at the wrong time and place.”

“We are now living in the period of presidential elections, and amending the constitution can only be done in a regular parliament session, which means we have to wait until next October, and by that time the current parliament’s term will have ended. So suggesting any amendment [to the constitution] is [unrealistic],” he said.

Geagea also said that Aoun would not accept anything that did not lead to his becoming president.

“When I met with Future Movement leader MP Saad Hariri in Paris, he told me that Aoun will bring up the issue of [changing] the Taif Agreement if he fails to secure victory in the presidential elections,” Geagea said.

“The great sin that Aoun is committing is that he thinks that obstructing [the presidential elections] comes without a price,” Geagea added.

Geagea also reiterated his insistence that the presidential elections should be held before the parliamentary elections.

However, he said that his party would participate in the parliamentary elections even if the presidential interregnum persists.

“If the date of the parliamentary elections arrives without [our] having elected a president first, I am personally against [facilitating a political] vacuum,” he said.

On Monday, Aoun called for amending the Lebanese constitution to permit direct presidential elections, to be held over two rounds, in which the people would vote directly for the president.

He suggested that in the first round, Christian voters would select two candidates, then in a second round, all Lebanese citizens would vote to choose between them.

Aoun added that his initiative should be coupled with the so-called Orthodox Gathering electoral draft law, in which citizens would vote for MPs of their own sect.

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