Despite Hezbollah’s repeated claims that it’s only candidate is the founder of Free Patriotic Movement MP Michel Aoun, the party has been holding back on endorsing him during the 43 parliament sessions that took place so far for election of a Lebanese president .
Strangely enough the only party that seems to be pushing hardest for Aoun’s election, is the Lebanese Forces which is headed by Aoun’s former rival Samir Geagea
There is “real progress” in the ongoing efforts to end the presidential vacuum and talks are “serious” with Future Movement and the Phalange Party in this regard, Melhem Riachi , a top Lebanese Forces official announced on Sunday.
“Hezbollah is required to seriously support General Michel Aoun’s presidential nomination through convincing the March 8 camp to secure quorum” at the parliament, Riachi said in an interview on MTV.
“We have communicated with Saudi Arabia regarding Aoun’s nomination and we were informed that it does not have a veto on any presidential candidate,” Riachi added.
Commenting on the so-called “package deal” that has been proposed by Speaker Nabih Berri, Riachi stressed that “for the LF, there is no package deal, but rather the priority of electing a president and committing to the democratic process.”
Riachi noted, however, that the Future Movement “has the right to reject Aoun’s presidential nomination” while pointing out that “Aoun has a larger popular base than (Marada Movement chief MP Suleiman) Franjieh in the Christian arena.”
“LF leader Samir Geagea contacted former president Amin Gemayel two weeks ago and I met with Phalange Party chief Sami Gemayel after the phone call,” Riachi revealed, stressing that “there is continuous communication with Phalange Party” and that LF deputy chief MP George Adwan is discussing the issue of the electoral law with Phalange Party’s leader.
The Lebanese parliament failed again earlier this month and for the 43rd time in a row to elect a president to replace Michel Suleiman whose term ended on May 25 , 2014.
As in the past sessions the parliament was unable to reach a quorum because the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militant group and its ally MP Michel Aoun’s Change and Reform bloc MPs boycotted the session, because they could not reportedly guarantee Aoun’s election as a president.
Amal Movement leader, Speaker Nabih Berri a key ally of Hezbollah postponed the election to September 7, 2016.
Geagea who was the first to announce his presidential bid and who later decided to back Aoun in order to end the impasse , said after the failed election.
” Neither Hezbollah nor Iran want a president , not even Aoun despite the fact that the FPM founder has the votes to guarantee his election.”
Lies through his teeth
Hezbollah chief Hassan Narallah reiterated Saturday that his party is still committed to Aoun’s presidential nomination while stressing that Berri is Hezbollah’s only candidate for the parliament speaker post.
“We have been committed to General Aoun’s presidential nomination since the period that preceded the July war, and should an agreement be reached over the president, we are open to discussing the premiership,” said Nasrallah in a televised speech marking 10 years since the end of the July 2006 war with Israel.
“It is clear that everyone has entered a waiting phase although the issues are still in the hands of the Lebanese, and everyone agrees that the solution begins by the election of a president,” Nasrallah said.
One observer decried Nasrallah’s remarks on Aoun and the presidency:
“Nasrallah lies through his teeth . I stopped believing anything he says on TV . Everyone knows the decision is up to Iran and not him and Iran is using the Lebanese presidential vacuum as a leverage in the Syrian war. Despite Hezbollah’s involvement in the Syrian war that war is Iran’s war and Iran is going to fight there for the last Hezbollah man .”