Lebanon News

Hezbollah official to March 14: Elect Aoun or face indefinite vacuum

File: Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah meets Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun. (Handout)

BEIRU: Lebanon has two choices: Either to accept Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun as president, or deal with an indefinite presidential vacuum, a Hezbollah official said Monday.

Speaking from the Bekaa Valley, Hezbollah's deputy chief Naim Qassem said that “either FPM chief Michel Aoun is elected as president, or the issue will be delayed indefinitely.”

Addressing the March 14 coalition, he said that it was “better to choose Aoun” because he is ready to make commitments, broker agreements and ensure that the Taif agreement, which ended Lebanon’s civil war, is fully implemented.

He will also guarantee that the country transitions into a more positive phase characterized by domestic cooperation, Qassem added.

“If you choose Aoun, then Lebanon will have a president, and if you don’t choose him, then that means you don’t want a solution,” he concluded.

Lawmakers have failed in 24 sessions to elect a successor to former President Michel Sleiman, whose term ended in May 2014.

Lawmakers from Aoun’s parliamentary Change and Reform bloc, Hezbollah MPs and their March 8 allies, have thwarted a quorum since April 2014 by boycotting parliamentary sessions, demanding an agreement beforehand with their March 14 rivals over a consensus candidate.

The first election in May achieved quorum, but no candidate received enough votes.

The failure to pick a successor to Sleiman has plunged the country into a presidential impasse that has paralyzed Parliament.

 

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