Hezbollah chief claims that Future Movement is behind Lebanon’s presidential impasse


aoun nasrallahHezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah claimed that the Future Movement is behind the presidential impasse urging the party to adopt the nomination of Change and Reform leader MP Michel Aoun for president.

“The Future is standing firm regarding Michel Aoun’s presidential candidacy. If it [the Future] lessened its stubbornness, we could reach a settlement that suits everyone,” Nasrallah was quoted as saying by local media.

Nasrallah’s remarks were made during a meeting with clerics chairing the party’s Ashura councils, according to As-Safir and Al-Akhbar newspapers. Shiite Muslims around the world mark Ashura, or the tenth day of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar.

Nasrallah reportedly said that the problem does not lie with the group’s partners, adding that “when the Future Movement decides to head to the Parliament and elect Aoun… we [Hezbollah] can reach an agreement with our allies.”

The Lebanese parliament failed again September 8th and for the 44th 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 28.

Hezbollah deputy chief Sheikh Naim Qassem ( usually referred to as No. 2 ) admitted earlier the month that his party is behind the obstruction of Lebanon presidential election when called on The Future Movement to “end its hesitation” and agree to back Aoun’s presidential bid claiming that Hezbollah’s MPs would immediately end their boycott of the electoral sessions in order to vote for Aoun.

Aoun and Marada Movement leader MP Sleiman Frangieh are the leading presidential candidates. Aoun is backed by Hezbollah and the Lebanese Forces, and Frangieh is mainly supported by the Future Movement, Amal Movement and the Progressive Socialist Party.

Nasrallah stressed that the rivalry was not “sectarian, but rather political, both in Lebanon and the region,” as he holds Riyadh responsible for the de facto situation.

Turning to the Cabinet paralysis, Nasrallah expressed support for Prime Minister Tammam Salam’s council.

“The Cabinet must not collapse as there is a necessity to reactivate its work and resume the dialogue carried through it, as well as consider the demands of our allies,” he said.

Salam has not called yet for the weekly Cabinet session scheduled Thursday, pending the outcome of contacts with a number of political blocs, amid the ministers’ of the Free Patriotic Movement, headed by Aoun’s son-in-law Gebran Bassil, continuing their boycott of Cabinet sessions over the extension of senior military officials’ terms.

Nasrallah also warned that the security situation shouldn’t be destabilized, adding that extremists’ threats have been averted in Lebanon.

“The terrorists tried in Ramadan to conduct a security operation in Beirut’s southern suburbs (Hezbollah’s stronghold), but they failed… they [the extremists] will continue to try but they will not succeed,” he said.

Future Movement MP Jamal al-Jarrah said during an interview on Sunday that former Lebanese PM and Future Movement leader MP Saad Hariri worked on several initiatives to end the presidential impasse including the nomination of Franjieh but there’s a clear Iranian decision to block the election of a president.

“Hariri made several initiatives to end the presidential void, including nominating Franjieh, but there’s a clear Iranian decision to block the election of a president.” Jarrah told MTV on Sunday.

Like Aoun, Franjieh is a key member of the Hezbollah-led March 8th alliance.