Lebanon News

Only solution for Lebanon is Aoun for president and Hariri for PM: Geagea

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea during annual mass memorial, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2016. (The Daily Star/ Aldo Ayoub)

BEIRUT: The only solution to end Lebanon’s political crisis is to elect Free Patriotic Movement founder Michel Aoun as president and Future Movement leader Saad Hariri as Prime Minister, said Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea on Saturday.

During a memorial mass commemorating LF supporters who were killed during the Lebanese civil war, Geagea warned that holding parliamentary elections without a new president will only complicate the country’s political crisis.

“If we reached the date of the parliamentary elections without a president, even if we have agreed on a date to vote for one, we will only be taking two steps back,” Geagea said to hundreds of LF supporters at the party’s headquarters in Maarab, north of Beirut.

He called on Lebanese lawmakers, and especially Aoun's March 8 allies, to head to Parliament and hold a vote.

"They should support him, not just through words, but through actions," he added, referring to Hezbollah and its March 8 allies, who have boycotted all presidential vote sessions.

Lebanon has been without a president since the term of Michel Sleiman ended in May 2014.

The LF chief promised to launch a war against "rampant corruption" in the Lebanese government, referring to the unresolved trash crisis and internet scandal.

“Those who were able to get the Syrians out of Lebanon will not find it hard to combat corruption in the Lebanese state,” he said, referring to 2005 forced withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon, following the assassination of former PM Rafik Hariri.

Geagea said that he expected a revolution to erupt in Lebanon, similar to those seen in other Arab countries since 2011.

“The winds of change, which swept the Arab world, will reach Lebanon, because our people have had enough of corruption and will not stand with our hands tied...I see a revolution on the horizon,” Geagea said.

He defended his recent rapprochement with the FPM, saying that it has put behind a dark history in the relationship of the two main Lebanese Christian parties.

"Some may think this is only a relationship of interest...but this agreement began with the presidential issue and will go beyond that,” he said, promising that it will have a positive outcome on Lebanon’s political scene.

In a surprise move, Geagea endorsed his wartime rival Aoun for the presidency earlier this year.

Geagea criticized Hezbollah for exacerbating regional turmoil through its involvement in the Syrian crisis, saying that it is fighting there to "further its interests" and not to fight terrorism.

 

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