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Hezbollah says ‘ethically’ committed to Aoun

THE LEVANT NEWS — BEIRUT: Hezbollah is ethically committed to supporting the presidential bid of its ally MP Michel Aoun, a top party official said Tuesday after talks with Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai in Bkirki.

“Politics is about ethics, not lying… We cannot give up on our commitment of supporting Aoun for presidency,” Hezbollah politburo chief Sayyed Ibrahim Amin al-Sayyed told reporters after the meeting.

Aoun, the founder of the Free Patriotic Movement and who heads the largest Christian bloc in Parliament, has long been understood as the Hezbollah-led March 8 coalition’s presidential candidate.

However, earlier this month Marada Movement leader Sleiman Frangieh, who is an ally of both Aoun and Hezbollah, said he was challenging Aoun for the post, threatening to create inter-coalition rivalries.

Frangieh became viewed as a potential candidate after news leaked of a secret meeting between himself and Future Movement leader Saad Hariri last month in Paris.

Hariri, a former prime minister, is seeking a deal whereby he would return to the premiership in exchange for Frangieh becoming president.

Rai has previously expressed support for the deal, saying he would back any initiative to end the country’s 19-month-long presidential void.

Hezbollah had previously remained silent on the initiative.

Sayyed said that Rai understands Hezbollah’s commitment to Aoun, but “asked the party to play [a positive role] in reaching concrete results regarding the presidency.”

“We agreed on… the election of a (new) head of state,” he added.

The three major Christian parties – the FPM, Lebanese Forces, and Kataeb – have all opposed Frangieh’s presidential bid.

Source: The Daily Star

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