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Reports that the Lebanese Forces might endorse Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun as president have shaken an anxious March 14 . While some believe that this is a maneuver by the party's leader, Samir Geagea, it appears to be considerably more than that. From Geagea's perspective there are potential advantages to be gained from backing Aoun. By opting for Aoun, Geagea would be in a position not only to pick up a share of the Aounist base, but also position himself as a successor one day.The reason is that if Geagea votes for Aoun, the latitude of Nabih Berri not to do so would disappear.A more pertinent question is why would Geagea support Aoun when he entered the presidential contest last year primarily to block Aoun's election? Geagea may also feel that an understanding with Aoun would allow the two to agree over an election law that benefits them mutually.If Geagea chooses Aoun, Franjieh's only option would be to withdraw from the presidential race, arguing that he is fulfilling the conditions set by Rai when the patriarch presented a formula to determine which Maronite would become president.Once empowered, Geagea assumes, Aoun would develop a different relationship with Hezbollah than he has today.
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