Geagea admits backing Aoun was a mistake, says the other option was presidential “vacuum”

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FILE PHOTO: Samir Geagea, leader of the Lebanese Forces
FILE PHOTO: Samir Geagea, leader of the Lebanese Forces

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea admitted Thursday that the party’s backing to bring President Michel Aoun to the post might have been based on a “wrong assessment.”

In an interview with Kuwaiti al-Qabas newspaper Geagea commented on whether the Maarab agreement between the LF and the Free Patriotic Movement chief (Aoun) in 2016 negatively impacted the party.

He said : “What options were available then? Settlement or continuation of the vacuum at the presidential post. At the time, that is how we assessed the matter – and it might be wrong – that General Aoun’s election was better than the vacuum. I acknowledge that the assessment might be wrong, because in such matters it is difficult to evaluate things accurately.”

As a result of the 2016 Maarab agreement Geagea relinquished his candidacy and supported Aoun for president.

Aoun was elected later that year.

Ties have been strained between Geagea and Aoun. Geagea considers Aoun and his ally the Iranian backed Hezbollah militant group responsible for mess Lebanon is in right now.

Free Patriotic Movement founder ,president Michel Aoun (left) , is shown during his meeting with Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah ( right). The meeting was held on October 24th , days before the parliament elected Aoun as president in October 2016

From the expiration of the term of President Michel Suleiman in May 2014 until October 31, 2016, the parliament was unable to obtain the majority required to elect a president, and the office was vacant for almost two and a half years, despite more than 30 votes being held. On October 31, 2016, the parliament finally elected Michel Aoun as President. Hezbollah which controlled the parliament majority prevented the election of a president and insisted on Aoun’s candidacy