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Lebanon News

Aoun hesitates as Geagea forges ahead on elections

Bsharri MP Strida Geagea speaks during a press conference at the Parliament in Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: The March 14 coalition will have only one candidate for the presidential election, MP Strida Geagea, from the Lebanese Forces, said Monday following a meeting with Kataeb leader Amin Gemayel.

Meanwhile, MP Alain Aoun ruled out that Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun would declare his candidacy for the presidency in time for the parliamentary election session this week.

“The March 14 coalition will be united in facing constitutional deadlines; the presidential election is a primary deadline and we will confront the April 23 deadline with one candidate,” Geagea said in reference to Wednesday’s parliamentary session to elect a new president.

For his part, MP Mohammad Raad, who heads Hezbollah’s Loyalty to the Resistance bloc, called for a president that preserves “the resistance” and unites the country.

“It is the right of our people and its representatives to choose a president who preserves the role of the resistance and the unity of the Lebanese people, and maintains the sovereignty of the country and its independence,” Raad said during a party event in south Lebanon.

“We would not have a presidential election if not for the resistance and its martyrs, so we cannot have a president who does not respect what the resistance achieved,” he said.

During her visit, Geagea, who visited Gemayel in his Bikfaya residence heading an LF delegation, gave him a copy of LF leader Samir Geagea's presidential platform.

The LF delegation included MPs Joseph Maalouf and Fadi Karam, along with former Minister Toni Karam and a member of the party's executive committee, Eddy Abi al-Lamaa.

The lawmaker said she agreed with the Kataeb leader that the presidential election is “very important and all lawmakers should practice their constitutional role on April 23.”

“The lawmakers who do not [show up] to secure the needed quorum [for the Parliament session] will be obstructing the election,” she said.

The Kataeb are expected to hold a meeting in the afternoon to declare their stance on the election,

Kataeb officials have said that Gemayel will declare his candidacy for the presidential election soon.

Geagea already announced his presidential campaign platform and voiced confidence his allies in March 14 would endorse his candidacy, despite a lack of official comment from the other major paries in the bloc.

The LF leader told al-Jazeera television in an interview to be aired later during the day that all March 14 forces will participate in the presidential election session set to take place on April 23.

“Work is underway to achieve quorum for Wednesday’s session... and all March 14 forces will participate in the election session since they have a clear stance,” Geagea said.

The LF leader also said that any disruption of the session by March 8 parties would be “undemocratic, especially since the presidential elections are not a matter of political consensus.”

Geagea also ruled out reports that regional and international powers are seeking the election of Aoun as president due to his ties with Hezbollah.

“I have not received any foreign diplomatic proposals on Aoun's election, but I believe that some March 8 camp media outlets are promoting such claims,” he said.

“The regional and international role in the elections is limited... We have a serious chance to elect a president who is 'made in Lebanon' seeing as major powers are preoccupied with other affairs,” Geagea said.

In comments to Kuwaiti daily As-Seyasah published Monday, Alain Aoun said “It is not likely that [Aoun] will announce his candidacy for the first round of presidential elections on Tuesday.”

“The road leading to the election of a new president is still [obstructed],” he said.

Aoun said he does not expect a president to be elected soon because “not all blocs have announced their stances. Some are still waiting for [foreign intervention].”

 

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Summary

The March 14 coalition will have only one candidate for the presidential election, MP Strida Geagea, from the Lebanese Forces, said Monday following a meeting with Kataeb leader Amin Gemayel.

Meanwhile, MP Alain Aoun ruled out that Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun would declare his candidacy for the presidency in time for the parliamentary election session this week.

Kataeb officials have said that Gemayel will declare his candidacy for the presidential election soon.

The LF leader told al-Jazeera television in an interview to be aired later during the day that all March 14 forces will participate in the presidential election session set to take place on April 23 .

Geagea also ruled out reports that regional and international powers are seeking the election of Aoun as president due to his ties with Hezbollah.


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