Lebanon News

Aoun for strong president, not consensual accord

FPM leader Michel Aoun speaks during an interview with The Daily Star in Rabieh, Friday, Nov. 28, 2014. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)

BEIRUT: The agreement that led to the election of Lebanon’s former president Michel Sleiman was a mistake that will not be repeated, Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun said Saturday.

“We will not repeat the mistake that is the Doha [agreement] and there will not be a second Doha,” he said in reference to a 2008 agreement that ended a two-year political deadlock that drove the country to the brink of civil war and paved the way for the election of Sleiman and the formation of a national unity Cabinet.

Aoun, who is the March 8 presidential candidate, said that only a strong and representative president, who is capable of assuming all the responsibilities laid out for him, could distance Lebanon from the repercussions of regional turmoil.

The FPM chief noted that Lebanon should make its own presidential decisions before foreign arrangement are imposed on the country, calling on local parties to “open a new page” by engaging in meaningful cooperation.

“If we can’t leave the mistakes of the past [behind], we won’t be able to take the path to salvation,” he said.

In addition to electing a strong president, the protection of Lebanon also requires a well-equipped Army that is capable of deterring any possible aggression by making any attack on the country seem too costly, he added.

Aoun’s comments were made during an FPM dinner commemorating the anniversary of the 1989 War of Liberation, 26 years after the FPM chief declared war on Syrian forces inside Lebanon when he was in power between 1989 and 1990,

Lebanon has been without a president since last May when Michel Sleiman’s term ended with MPs failing to elect a successor.

The nine-month long presidential vacum has generated a rift between Lebanon’s rival parties.

Lawmakers from the Hezbollah-led March 8 coalition have since boycotted the election sessions. Quorum was only met during the first legislative session to elect a president in April, but no candidate received enough votes to win.





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