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Hezbollah: President must be 'friend' of resistance

  • March 8 coalition lawmakers Ali Fayyad and Ali Bazzi in Parliament in Beirut on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

BEIRUT: Hezbollah said Sunday the next Lebanese president should be a “friend” of the resistance and that the election of a candidate required the cooperation of all blocs.

“The next president must be a friend of the resistance, reflect the aspirations of the Lebanese, and commit to the ministerial statement of the current government and its political content,” MP Ali Fayyad said during a ceremony in Blida, south Lebanon.

“Those who opposed the ministerial statement have no place in the presidency,” he said, referring to Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea, who also opposed taking part in a government with Hezbollah.

“It is of no surprise that the Parliament’s makeup does not allow for one candidate to win without the cooperation of others because quorum is secured with the attendance of two-thirds of MPs,” he said.

“Therefore we are bound to deal with reality in a responsible, national way,” Fayyad added.

The Hezbollah lawmaker also said that such way of thinking required an end to what he described as “provocative candidacies,”

Meanwhile, Geagea held “lengthy talks” with U.S. Ambassador David Hale about the presidential election, the LF media office said over the weekend, as the fate of this week’s parliamentary session to elect a candidate remained in question.

Geagea, a presidential hopeful, and Hale discussed the political situation in the Middle East and spoke extensively about the election, stressing the need to hold the polls within the Constitutional deadline.

The two met in Geagea’s residence in Maarab.

Geagea, the March 14 coalition’s presidential nominee, received 48 votes in last week’s parliamentary session against 52 blank ballots mostly from the March 8 coalition which has not yet announced its own candidate.

The second round of the election, in which a candidate must garner 65 votes to win, is scheduled to be held this Wednesday.

Several MPs expressed pessimism regarding Speaker Nabih Berri's ability to achieve quorum, saying that contacts among rival groups have so far been fruitless.

MP Michel Mussa, from Berri’s Development and Liberation bloc, said there were no new developments to shine a light on Wednesday’s session, defending the March 8 coalition's decision to cast blank ballots.

"The circumstances are still the same. No quorum and no election in next week's session because things remain subject to consultations and contacts,” Mussa told a local radio station.

“We cast a blank ballot because things were not clear to us yet,” he added.

MP Alain Aoun, from MP Michel Aoun's bloc, said contacts were ongoing between his party and other factions.

"We are holding contacts between [us] and all parliamentary blocs including the Future bloc and these may not result in anything before Wednesday,” he said.

The lawmaker also noted that Aoun would only run in the election if the former General received the support of both the March 8 and the March 14 groups.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Wael Abu Faour, from MP Walid Jumblatt's bloc, left for Saudi Arabia Sunday, two days after his he returned from another short trip to Jeddah.

His visit comes days after former Minister Jean Obeid, who has emerged as a possible consensus candidate, also left for the kingdom for talks.

 
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Summary

Hezbollah said Sunday the next Lebanese president should be a "friend" of the resistance and that the election of a candidate required the cooperation of all blocs.

Geagea held "lengthy talks" with U.S. Ambassador David Hale about the presidential election, the LF media office said over the weekend, as the fate of this week's parliamentary session to elect a candidate remained in question.

Geagea, the March 14 coalition's presidential nominee, received 48 votes in last week's parliamentary session against 52 blank ballots mostly from the March 8 coalition which has not yet announced its own candidate.

The second round of the election, in which a candidate must garner 65 votes to win, is scheduled to be held this Wednesday.


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