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Genuine presidential elections are necessary: Geagea
LF leader Samir Geagea speaks during the mass in Maarab, Sunday, Sept. 1, 2013. (The Daily Star/Aldo Ayoub, HO)
LF leader Samir Geagea speaks during the mass in Maarab, Sunday, Sept. 1, 2013. (The Daily Star/Aldo Ayoub, HO)
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BEIRUT: Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea said over the weekend Lebanon should hold genuine presidential elections rather than what he described as “closed-door arrangements” to agree on a consensual candidate.

“We are fed up of ‘cooking up’ [candidates] like it used to happen - in the shadows - and fed up of arrangements that hundreds of factors and countries interfere in,” Geagea told a gathering in Maarab.

“We have experienced the consequences of these arrangements and it is high time we hold fair elections,” he added.

He also criticized previous presidential elections when “arrangement and contacts [were] held behind closed doors,” followed by a legislative session for MPs to place a superficial vote for their candidate.

“Since 1990, no real elections took place and the last such elections were in 1970,” he said.

President Michel Sleiman whose term ends on May 25 of 2014 has rejected an extension to his mandate as politicians hold meetings and discuss names of potential candidates.

Geagea, who previously said would discuss his possible nomination for the presidency with his party, said the Constitution stipulates holding elections and not “a consensus over a president.”

“The presidential elections do not mean Loya Jirga at all and consequently MPs should head to the first legislative session called by Speaker Nabih Berri to elect a new president,” he added.

The LF leader also called on candidates to present their nominations soon as well as their agenda and begin the presidential race.

“At the end, we will all vote for a candidate we are convinced with and we should all pledge from now that whoever wins should be congratulated by all of us,” he said.

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