“If the majority of the opposition agrees on my name for the presidency of the Republic, I am ready”, launched Monday evening the head of the Lebanese Forces (FL) Samir Geagea, while Lebanon is in a period of presidential election since the beginning of September and that the deputies must elect a successor to Michel Aoun, whose mandate ends on October 31.
The Maronite leader also gave his position on the other names of presidential candidates circulating, in particular the commander-in-chief of the Lebanese army Joseph Aoun and the leader of the Marada, Sleiman Frangié. If he did not close the door to the election of the first, he said “preferring a political president”; the second, he “remains a member of the other camp” constantly denounced by Samir Geagea, namely that of Hezbollah, which makes his election unthinkable according to him.
During a television interview given to the local channel LBCI, as part of journalist Albert Kostanian’s program 2030, the head of the FL assured him: “If the majority of the opposition agrees on my name for the presidency of the Republic, I am ready for that and to prepare my electoral program, knowing that I have already presented it in previous elections”. A reference to the May 2022 legislative election after which Samir Geagea’s party and its affiliates won 19 seats. “We have a clear program with which we fought the legislative battle,” he insisted.
As the presidential deadline approaches, the leader of Meerab is trying to bring together the opposition forces to the camp of President Aoun and the party he founded, the Free Patriotic Movement (CPL), whose Shiite tandem Amal-Hezbollah are political allies. Samir Geagea called in early September for the election of a “confrontational president” against this political camp.
“It is obvious that we will not discuss with the CPL, Hezbollah or Amal, because they are the ones who brought us to where we are”, retorted the head of the FL on Monday evening. “But there are 67 opposition deputies, which is why we must agree on a president who meets the required criteria”, he continued, claiming to have “started to mention several names of presidential candidates with the opposition deputies” without disclosing them, however.
Joseph Aoun and Sleiman Frangie
Asked about the possible candidacy of the commander-in-chief of the army Joseph Aoun for the supreme office, Samir Geagea declared: “We are not against the election of the commander-in-chief of the army as president, but we prefer a president political”, also indicating that according to him, “Lebanon does not need a technocratic president but a man who has a clear political position”.
What about Sleiman Frangie? “Despite the personal relationship and the contacts we have, he remains a member of the other camp and does not deny it,” said Samir Geagea. “If he succeeds in the presidency, on what blocks will he rely if not those of the Shiite tandem?”, he questioned, although the person concerned often denies representing the Hezbollah camp. In a television interview last week, the Marada leader claimed he “is not the candidate” for Hassan Nasrallah’s party, in an attempt to portray himself as a consensus presidential candidate.
The leader of the FL also mentioned his relationship with the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) of Walid Jumblatt, which is less closed to a consensus with Hezbollah. “The relationship is open with the PSP, there is no break between us,” assured Samir Geagea. “There are certain names of presidential candidates that we share with them as well as with other groups,” he continued.
Putting Saudi Arabia at ease
The leader of Meerab also spoke about Lebanon’s international relations with its Arab neighbors, in connection with the presidential election. “Saudi Arabia will not cooperate with Lebanon in the event of the election of a president who makes it uncomfortable and who comes from a well-known political side”, he launched, in a pike to the pro-Hezbollah camp, which ostensibly claims affiliation with Tehran.
Samir Geagea also mentioned the recent serial robberies that have hit the headlines in a Lebanon in crisis. “I understand the anger of depositors, but we cannot continue like this, because it compromises the rights of other depositors,” he said, blaming the current situation “on the state in the first place, to the Banque du Liban (BDL) and also to the banks”. On Monday morning, some branches reopened amid heightened tensions and tighter security measures.
“If the majority of the opposition agrees on my name for the presidency of the Republic, I am ready”, launched Monday evening the leader of the Lebanese Forces (FL) Samir Geagea, while Lebanon is in a period of presidential election since the beginning of September and that the deputies must elect a successor to Michel Aoun, whose mandate ends on October 31. The Maronite leader…
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Geagea: If the opposition agrees on my name, I’m ready
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