Aoun won’t run Lebanon president unless race becomes 'serious'

Aoun won’t run Lebanon president unless race becomes 'serious'
Tue May 27, 2014 08:50:46

Lebanon’s Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun says he will not declare himself a presidential candidate unless the battle becomes serious.

“So far no one has nominated me. Not even I have nominated myself. When the battle becomes real I will mull whether to run or leave the candidacy for others,” Aoun told a Monday news conference, The Daily Star reported.

He stressed that a Cabinet cannot endure in the absence of the head of state, adding that a vacancy in the president’s seat is unconstitutional.

Aoun, however, underlined his understanding of “constitutional,” by citing comments from Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai and former Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

“Constitutional means like Rai says, ‘a strong president who is acceptable to both his sect and others’ and also like Hariri says, ‘a president who represents Christians,’” Aoun said.

He said negotiations between the FPM and the Future Movement on a new president were ongoing.

Aoun also explained his vision of an agreement on a “consensus” president.

“Consensus does not mean a 99 percent majority. Christians are democrats however [in this instance] consensus means dictatorship of a sect,” he asserted.

The comments came as Lebanese politicians have not been able to agree on a successor to former Lebanese President Michel Sleiman, whose term ended on Sunday.

While bidding farewell to the presidential palace on Saturday, Sleiman said the power vacuum may have been caused intentionally by certain Lebanese factions.

The deadlock is linked to the political polarization between March 14 Alliance, on the one side, and Hezbollah and its allies in the March 8 Alliance, on the other.

March 14 Alliance, which is led by the pro-Saudi figure Saad Hariri, has thus far supported the candidacy of anti-Hezbollah figure, Samir Geagea, who is well known for having a history of collaboration with Israel.

Hezbollah hence accuses March 14 Alliance of stalling the process by backing such candidate.


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