Lebanon News

Rai rules out Geagea, Aoun for president

File - Patriarch Beshara Rai speaks during an interview in Bkirki, north of Beirut, February 28, 2012. (REUTERS/Sharif Karim)

BEIRUT: Maronite Cardinal Beshara Rai rules out both Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea and Change and Reform bloc leader MP Michel Aoun for the presidency in comments published Thursday.

Asked about the possibility that one of those two leaders might win the presidential election scheduled for this spring, Rai told al-Joumhouria that he “does not expect that.”

“The president must be a consensus figure and accepted by the people so that he can bring together warring parties instead of creating a new crisis,” Rai said.

However, the cardinal said Bkirki does not support a certain presidential candidate.

“The next president should have strong morals, integrity, history, faith in the Lebanese state and in regional and international ties so that he can revive the role of the institutions and rule the country in the difficult times,” he said.

Rai also called on Speaker Nabih Berri to hold a parliamentary session to elect a new president.

Lebanon entered last month the constitutional period to elect a new president before the six-year term of President Michel Sleiman expires on May 25.

In comments to the voice of Lebanon radio station Thursday, Future MP Khodr Habib described Rai’s comments as “realistic.”

“Patriarch Beshara Rai's comments about the next president being from outside the March 8 and March 14 camps is realistic,” the Akkar lawmaker said.

“However, let us wait to see what happens in Parliament’s session to elect a president.”

Habib also said that the March 14 coalition will declare the group’s candidate for the presidency in the coming weeks.

The LF, a main ally in the March 14 camp, has already declared Geagea as their candidate for the presidential election.





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