A Hizbullah delegation led by senior official Wafiq Safa visited the founder of the Free Patriotic Movement MP Michel Aoun and reiterated the party's adamant stance in backing him for the top state post despite other competitors in the presidential race, An Nahar daily reported on Tuesday.
The newspaper said that Safa has restated “the party's unwavering backing for Aoun even if the Marada chief MP Suleiman Franjieh remained a candidate.”
Aoun, a March 8 nominee, has been lately nominated by his long time rival from March 14 camp Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea who withdrew his nomination in favor of Aoun.
The move was analyzed by observers as a reaction to the nomination of Franjieh by al-Mustaqbal movement chief Saad Hariri late last year, which was met by reservation from the LF, Kataeb and FPM.
The Hizbullah delegation assured Aoun, during the visit which the paper said came 48 hours following the Maarab rapprochement, that “any parliamentary sessions that convenes with quorum will end up electing Aoun even if Hizbullah prefers not to take part in a session where the two candidates for the post are from the March 8.”
Furthermore, An Nahar daily quoted sources of the FPM, MPs of the Change and Reform bloc and allies “will not participate in a parliament session that does not guarantee to get Aoun to the post,” and that this stance “has been coordinated with Hizbullah following the Maarab rapprochement.”
“Hizbullah's positions has not changed on nominating Aoun. It is useless to wait for a statement from Hizbullah declaring otherwise. The words of Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah were clear in that regard and he has reiterated more than once that the party's candidate is Aoun.”
Lebanon has been without a president since the term of President Michel Suleiman ended in May 2014.
The 35th parliament session has been scheduled on February 8 to elect a successor with conflicting reports speculating that it will meet the same fate as its predecessors.