Gemayel: Hezbollah and FPM of obstructing presidential elections

Amine Gemayel

Former Lebanese president and Phalange Party leader Amin Gemayel slammed on Saturday the Free Patriotic Movement and Hezbollah, accusing them of obstructing the election of a new head of state.

“Whoever wants to run for the presidency has the right… If the candidate didn’t have enough support at the parliament then he withdraws,” Gemayel said during an interview with An Nahar newspaper in a possible reference to Hezbollah’s ally FPM chief Michel Aoun.

He described to the daily that the delay in electing a new president as a “coup against the constitution and violates the constitutional norms.”

Gemayel warned of “Hezbollah’s decision to hold onto Aoun’s candidacy despite his low chances to reach the presidential post.”

“This could only mean that Hezbollah doesn’t want to stage the presidential elections.”

The Lebanese parliament failed last Thursday and for the 13th time in a row to elect a president to replace Michel Suleiman whose term ended on May 25.

As in the past sessions the parliament was unable to reach a quorum because the Iranian backed Hezbollah militant group and its ally Aoun’s Change and Reform bloc MPs boycotted the sessions.

Speaker Nabih Berri adjourned the session on the election of a president to for October 29 after the lack of quorum.

Gemayel told the daily that his recent meeting with former Pm and Future Movement leader Saad Hariri in Paris tackled the “necessity of electing a new head of state, whether it was Amin Gemayel or anyone else who is capable of garnering the votes of half-plus-one of lawmakers.”

“My name has been suggested for the presidential post, but nothing has changed yet.” Gemayel said

Commenting on the bombing of an Israeli patrol in the Shebaa Farms, Gemayel described it as a “risk that could involve the country in incidents that it doesn’t need.”

Hezbollah claimed on Tuesday responsibility for the bombing in the occupied Shebaa Farms area near the ceasefire line that wounded two Israeli soldiers and prompted Israeli artillery fire into southern Lebanon.

“The decision of war and peace should be in the hands of the Lebanese state,” Gemayel reiterated.

He rejected the so-called self-security, slamming it as “clear violation of the constitution and the law.”

“The only solution is to unite and support the army and the Internal Security Forces,” Gemayel told An Nahar.