BEIRUT: The Lebanese Forces defended Samir Geagea Saturday against claims that the presidential paralysis was the result of differences between him and his rival, MP Michel Aoun, saying the LF chief had shown flexibility.
“To avoid naming the real people responsible for obstructing the presidential election, some have resorted to attributing the disruptions to complications between Samir Geagea and Michel Aoun,” the LF said in a statement.
"Obstructing the presidential election is the result of a boycott by Aoun and Hezbollah for the legislative session and not complications between Aoun and Geagea.”
In an article Saturday, An-Nahar quoted Patriarch Beshara Rai as telling MP Fouad Siniora during their meeting Friday that he did not have a preferred candidate for the presidential seat and that he sought a president who was not allied with the March 8 or the March 14 groups after things had become complicated between Aoun and Geagea.
Rai also reportedly said that none of the Maronite figures was able to bring the Maronite community together and that the search should focus on someone with a unifying character.
The LF said it was “unfair” to portray Geagea as part of a conflict with Aoun that lead to the presidential deadlock.
"Geagea nominated himself in accordance to what was agreed to during Bkirki meeting and March 14 MPs committed to the agreement and attended all parliamentary sessions to elect a new president,” the party said
“Geagea has asked Aoun on several occasions to either take part in the legislative sessions or come to an agreement on a third candidate.”
The LF also noted that its chief had repeatedly said he would withdraw his nomination and expressed willingness to discuss any means to resolve the presidential crisis.
The March 14 has backed Geagea’s nomination while Aoun remains the March 8 group’s undeclared candidate for the country’s top Christian post.
Aoun and some of his allies in the March 8 including Hezbollah have boycotted nine out of 10 Parliamentary sessions to elect a new president, arguing that the meetings are futile in the absence of an agreement on a consensus candidate.