Lebanon’s Hezbollah backs Michel Aoun for president
The Lebanese resistance movement, Hezbollah, has voiced support for a bid by former Lebanese army general Michel Aoun to become president.
Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary general of the resistance movement, expressed support for Aoun, also the leader of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), as a presidential candidate on Wednesday during a meeting with the board of trustees, head and deans of a new university in Beirut.
“We are keen to highlight today that there is no change in our position,” Hezbollah Media Relations quoted Nasrallah as saying in a statement.
“General Aoun is the presidential candidate; he is a powerful candidate who enjoys wide-based representation,” Nasrallah said.
There were a number of senior members of Hezbollah including the head of Hezbollah’s Executive Council Sayyed Hashem Safieddine in the meeting.
“We were, we are still and we will keep on supporting this candidacy,” Nasrallah said.
The leader of the resistance movement added that Aoun is a “mandatory passage” for the presidential election in Lebanon to take place.
In Lebanon’s power-sharing system, the president must be a Christian, the prime minister a Sunni Muslim and the parliament speaker a Shia Muslim. Any presidential candidate would have to receive the backing of the two main political blocs, the March 8 alliance and the rival March 14 alliance, to win the necessary majority from the legislature’s 128 members.
Aoun is supported by Hezbollah and its March 8 allies for the presidency against his political rival Samir Geagea, who is backed by the March 14 coalition.
Lebanon has been in a presidential vacuum since former President Michel Sleiman’s tenure ended in May 2014. The parliament has failed to find a successor.
Lebanese political factions are reportedly split on the foreign-backed conflict in neighboring Syria, causing a stalemate over the choice of president.