Berri : Geagea’s endorsement of Aoun is not sufficient to end the presidential vacuum


aoun-geageaSpeaker Nabih Berri has said that he would not announce his stance with regards to  Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea’s endorsement of Change and Reform bloc leader MP Michel Aoun for the presidency before the picture becomes clear.

In remarks to his visitors, Berri said: “As the head of Amal Movement, I will bring together the leadership council and the Politburo when the picture becomes clearer to take the final stance from the presidency.”

Geagea endorsed   Aoun on Monday  in an attempt to end the 20-month presidential deadlock.

Asked about the rapprochement between the two men, Berri said: “What happened confirms my theory that there are no enmities among the Lebanese. They only have rivalries.”

“It created a positive atmosphere on the Christian level,” he said.

But the speaker stressed that the decision taken by Geagea “is not sufficient” to end the  presidential vacuum.

The next session for parliament to elect a president is on February 8. But it is not yet clear whether Lebanon will have a head of state on that date .

Free Patriotic Movement leader Gebran Bassil  visited   Berri at his residence in Ain el Tineh yesterday . Following their meeting he  described Geagea’s nomination of Aoun as president as a “breakthrough” in Lebanon.

But Berri has  reportedly stressed that he backed the candidacy of Marada Movement chief MP Suleiman Franjieh despite the Lebanese Forces endorsement of  Aoun for the presidency, al-Akhbar daily reported  on Tuesday.

Sources close to Berri told the newspaper that the speaker will not announce his official stance before carefully studying the latest deal struck between LF chief  and Aoun.

The speaker said last week that he gave the MPs of his bloc the freedom to chose the candidate they wanted if Geagea backed Aoun

Former PM and Future Movement chief Saad Hariri  reportedly continues to back  Franjieh.

Hariri nominated Franjieh for president last month without consulting Geagea, who is his ally in the March 14 alliance.

The move helped in uniting both  Geagea and Aoun.