FPM leader Michel Aoun and LF leader Samir Geagea speak during a joint press conference in Rabieh. (The Daily Star/Stringer)
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Hezbollah and the Lebanese Forces, on opposite ends of the political divide, teamed up Sunday to call on the Future Movement and its March 14 allies to elect MP Michel Aoun as president as the only way to end the prolonged presidential vacuum and avoid an escalation threatened by the Free Patriotic Movement. Nonetheless, the pleas issued separately by Hezbollah's deputy head Sheikh Naim Qassem and LF deputy chief MP George Adwan are likely to fall on deaf ears as senior Future Movement officials have totally dismissed the possibility of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri backing Aoun's presidential bid anytime soon. They also reiterated the Future bloc's commitment to supporting Marada Movement leader MP Sleiman Frangieh's candidacy for the presidency. Former premier Fouad Siniora, head of the parliamentary Future bloc, who staunchly opposes Aoun's election as president, ruled out any compromise over the presidency.There is a democratic path that should take its course," Siniora told Al-Jadeed TV station. He called on lawmakers from Aoun's bloc and Hezbollah's bloc, who have been boycotting Parliament sessions for more than two years, thwarting a quorum, to attend a new session slated for Sept. 28 to elect a president. Earlier in the day, Qassem said the only way to end the presidential void was for all the political factions, including the Future Movement, to vote for Aoun, who is backed by Hezbollah, the LF and some March 8 allies.LF media officer Melhem Riachi said the Future Movement was considering endorsing Aoun's bid for the presidency.
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