Free Patriotic Movement founder and Change and Reform parliamentary bloc leader Michel Aoun speaks during a commemoration in Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, March 14, 2016. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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Free Patriotic Movement founder Michel Aoun shrugged off claims Monday that he was obstructing Lebanon's presidential election, saying he could not vote for a new head of state through an illegal Parliament.Aoun, who heads the Change and Reform parliamentary bloc, has long called for the election of a head of state through a public vote, instead of a Parliamentary vote.Aoun spoke during the commemoration of March 14, 1989, when he, an army general at the time, had declared the "War of Liberation" against the Syrian army who had been present in Lebanon since 1976 . Aoun, who had been endorsed for the presidency in January by his war-time foe Lebanese Forces head Samir Geagea, defended his ongoing boycott of parliamentary sessions to elect a head of state. Parliament extended its own mandate twice, once in May 2013 for 17 months, then again in Nov. 2014 for two years and seven months.Aoun has long argued that the 60s law, used in the last legislative polls in 2009, does not give Christians fair representation in Parliament, and devalues their votes in certain districts.Aoun's bloc currently occupies the majority of Christian seats in Parliament, and is the second largest bloc after the Future bloc.
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