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Geagea: M14 should not bow out of presidential battle

LF leader Samir Geagea speaks during a press conference in Maarab, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014. (The Daily Star/Aldo Ayoub, HO)

BEIRUT: Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea said he would do everything within his power ensure that the next president of Lebanon is a March 14 candidate.

“We will do our best to prevent anyone from the March 8 coalition becoming president, and to ensure that a March 14 candidate will fill this post,” Geagea told the Lebanese Forces website in an interview published Thursday, a day after MP Michel Aoun announced his likely candidacy.

“I am saying this candidly and frankly.”

Geagea refused to confirm whether he would run for president this spring, saying “this is not what really matters. What matters is that the March 14 coalition, which is struggling in the greater national battle, cannot stand aside in the battle for the presidency.”

The constitutional period to elect a new head of state begins on March 25, two months prior to the expiration of President Michel Sleiman’s mandate.

For his part, Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai also demanded Thursday that the presidential election be held on time.

“The presidential election is a national duty that should be respected,” The cardinal told a delegation from the Syndicate of Editors.

“It is shameful for us to wait for foreign powers to nominate a president for us,” said Rai. “We may ask these powers for their opinions on a candidate, but we should not ask them who they prefer.”

“The new president should be strong and must adhere to national principles,” he added. “He should also enjoy good ties with the international community.”

 

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