BEIRUT: Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea said that his ally in the March 14 coalition, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, had personally endorsed his candidacy for the coming presidential election.
“Saad Hariri informed me directly that he supports my candidacy and [that the Future bloc] would vote for me in Wednesday’s session and he will declare this officially prior to the session,” Geagea said in an interview with Al-Jazeera to be broadcasted Monday.
A source in the Future Movement said the group was likely to endorse Geagea’s candidacy but had not yet reached “a final decision” over the issue.
“Contacts are ongoing within the Future Movement and with the Lebanese Forces to discuss the presidential election, what matters to us is to preserve the unity of the March 14 coalition,” said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The source said a meeting, the second of its kind, between Geagea and Hariri’s chief of staff, Nader Hariri, took place over the weekend but could not confirm if former PM Hariri directly contacted Geagea to voice support for his candidacy.
Speaker Nabih Berri called for a Parliament session Wednesday to elect a new head of state, though the session seems to have little hope of achieving a vote for a new president, with it remaining uncertain if it will even achieve quorum.
Geagea declared his candidacy for the presidential election earlier this month. Although the LF leader says he is confident of his allies’ support, the March 14 coalition has not yet endorsed Geagea’s candidature.
Kataeb Party head Amine Gemayel, another leading figure in the March 14 coalition, is also set to run for the presidential election.
The LF leader told Al-Jazeera that Wednesday’s session would be like a “test” and that the quorum to elect a new president was not likely to be secured “because the stances of the March 8 [parties] are not encouraging.”
“The March 8 team has not yet declared it has the intention of taking part in the session,” he said.
Geagea also said that “the Kataeb Party informed me it does not mind voting for me in principle but would like to go more in the details of the election process before declaring its final stance.”