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Hezbollah names Aoun for presidency

BEIRUT | / NNA - January 30, 2016, 10h41

Hezbollah's Secretary General, Hassan Nasrallah, asserted, in a televised speech on Friday, that his party definitely backed the candidacy of MP Michel Aoun to the presidency of the Lebanese republic, stressing that they will only renege on their decision if Aoun himself withdraws his candidature.

"We have an ethical and political commitment to supporting the candidacy of General Michel Aoun to presidency (...) We do hold onto our commitment, even if we lose in politics, unless Aoun himself withdraws his own candidacy," Nasrallah underlined, in a speech devoted to address the presidential dossier.

His address today only renewed Hezbollah's unswerving commitment to their strong ally, Head of Change and Reform bloc, MP Michel Aoun, especially after the latter headed to Maarab to hold a first-time meeting with his lifetime rival, Lebanese Forces leader, Samir Geagea, who backed Aoun's candidacy.

The pair's reconciliation was regarded as a challenging reaction to the initiative of Geagea's ally, Future Movement leader, MP Saad Hariri, who freshly named for presidency MP Sleiman Frangieh, a key component of March 8 camp.

But what was thought to be "confusing" to Hezbollah only added to its patrimony, according to Nasrallah.

"We see a huge political gain to our political camp. March 14 group is disintegrated. The LF now backs our ally, and, another [rival] party supports another ally to us. How can this be confusing to us? There is a political fruit here: the next president cannot be from March 14; in addition, the next president will certainly be from March 8--the difference is only a matter of names," Nasrallah said.

He went on to say that if the next Parliament session to elect a new president resulted into choosing Aoun as the new head of state, Hezbollah would head to the House. "Both ways, we got what we want, since both candidates are from our camp."

"We are accused of hampering the election of a president because we are not providing quorum at the Parliament sessions; because actually we see that these sessions will not end with choosing the president we want. And this is our natural democratic right," he said.

Giving lowdown on the headway of Hariri's initiative, Nasrallah did not hesitate to narrate that some sides claiming affiliation to Future Movement conducted contacts with MP Sleiman Frangieh, Marada Movement leader. Moreover, he related a Marada official saying that the LF was communicating with Frangieh in that respect, at the same time while maintaining similar contacts with Aoun.

"Frangieh told us what was happening and we clearly warned him of likely attempts to sow rift between him and Aoun, or between Aoun and us. He suggested waiting for what would happen," Nasrallah recounted. "We even warned [him] of the possibility that after two or three [Parliament] sessions, Saudi Arabia puts a veto on him," he continued.

"We told him that anyway, if this initiative is serious, we have an ethical and political commitment with Aoun. So, in the event of this serious proposal, we must discuss this with Aoun," he told.

However, Nasrallah was keen on highlighting his unwavering alliance and friendship with his crucial ally, Frangieh. "You are my friend, my ally, and the apple of my eye." "But, we have a commitment with Aoun," Nasrallah said he had told Frangieh.

He made it clear that if a year and a half ago--when the presidential vacuum started--his party committed to Frangieh, they would still be committed to him now.

"Our relation with our allies is not only based upon political considerations and interests, but also upon love, mutual trust and respect, and principles," he explained. "But we neither seek nor accept to embarrass our allies," he stressed.

Nonetheless, Nasrallah criticized the headway of Hariri's initiative. "The meeting took place in Paris. We said to Frangieh: The way the meeting happened, in form and in what was conveyed about the content, caused confusion and equivocation in the country, in a way that blocked any possibility of dialogue," he explained.

"Some side leaked information about Hariri's nomination of Frangieh, before any discussions. This caused confusion. That way was wrong, and took a toll on both March 8 and March 14 camps," he commented.

"But I only believe what Frangieh tells me, not the leakage," he said.

"Frangieh did not present himself as representing March 8 camp. He acted in a personal way. Anyway, there has been confusion," he indicated.

Nasrallah reiterated that Aoun was a "natural candidate" to the presidency, considering his qualifications, rejecting statements accusing Aoun of being Hezbollah's candidate.

"Aoun did not ask for our support. When he presented his candidacy, the party's leaderships convened and unanimously decided to back him," he clarified.

On the reconciliation between Geagea and Aoun, Nasrallah voiced support for the fresh understanding, hoping peace would prevail among all sects and parties.

"If our rival chose our ally, why would we be unhappy? We are happy," he underscored.

Nasrallah did not fail to reply to current accusations levelled against Iran in terms of obstructing the election of a Lebanese president.

"Whoever accuses Iran of hindering the president's election must provide evidence. This is an accusation based on lies," he said.

"This great number one power, which the entire world is vying for its courtesy, did not place the Lebanese presidential dossier on-the-table, while discussing the nuclear deal with P5+1," he reminded.

Separately, Nasrallah finally called to hold the municipal polls on their due date.

"We reject any form of extension of the mandate of the current municipal councils," he concluded

#HassanNasrallah, #Hezbollah, #MichelAoun
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