Aoun: Extension Aimed to Stop a Change in Parliamentary Majorityإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun said the extension of parliament’s mandate until June 2017 was aimed at preventing a change in the legislature's majority and revealed that dialogue with al-Mustaqbal movement on the presidential deadlock has stopped.
“The real reason behind the extension is to stop the current (parliamentary) majority from changing and consequently to control the presidential elections,” Aoun told As Safir newspaper in an interview published on Monday.
“Where has the equation on not holding parliamentary polls before the election of a president come from?” he asked.
“If al-Mustaqbal movement or any other party has suggested it, it doesn't mean its right,” Aoun said.
Had the elections to find a successor to President Michel Suleiman been held, Aoun claimed he would have gotten the support of the majority of Christian MPs.
He accused the March 14 alliance's majority of lawmakers of rejecting the parliamentary polls because they fear their results.
The Change and Reform bloc leader claimed that a certain embassy has a report showing that if the parliamentary elections were held now, then the representation of a top Sunni politician would drop.
Last week, 95 lawmakers, including Aoun's allies in Hizbullah, voted to extend the legislature's term until June 2017 amid a boycott by the Change and Reform bloc and Kataeb MPs.
Only two lawmakers voted against the extension.
Parliamentary elections were originally scheduled for the middle of 2013, but MPs approved a 17-month extension of their mandate in May 2013.
However, the political stalemate and security concerns that motivated last year's extension have only deepened in the intervening period.
The country has been without a president since Suleiman's term ended on May 25 because lawmakers have failed to agree on a successor.
Aoun was asked if he thought the parliamentary elections could have been held despite the announcement of al-Mustaqbal movement that it would boycott them amid a vacuum in Baabda.
The polls could have been organized, Aoun said. “It is not right for us to abide by the movement's demands based on the hypothesis that it represents the majority of the Sunni sect.”
The FPM leader revealed that “dialogue with (al-Mustaqbal chief) ex-PM Saad Hariri on the presidency came to a stop because Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal put a veto” on his name.
“When the moment of truth came and we were waiting from him (Hariri) the final answer, he began to procrastinate in a sign that he did not have the necessary authorization” to engage in such dialogue, said Aoun.
The FPM chief has not officially announced his candidacy for the presidency but the MPs of his Change and Reform bloc have blocked more than a dozen rounds of parliamentary sessions aimed at electing a head of state.
The dialogue with Hariri was aimed at convincing the March 14 alliance at dropping its support for the candidacy of Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea.
Asked whether he thought that divisions on the parliamentary crisis would have repercussions on his ties with Hizbullah, Aoun said: “What brings us together is far stronger than the extension.”
“Those thinking that I would turn against the resistance because its MPs voted for the extension, are delusional,” he told As Safir.
“The resistance as a strategic choice is not affected by circumstantial political issues,” the lawmaker stressed.
Aoun claimed that the FPM and Hizbullah have reached a stage where they compliment each other because “together we fight a dangerous takfiri threat in addition to the Israeli danger.”
Hizbullah fighters have gone to join Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces in their battle against Sunni rebels, drawing anger at home from Lebanon's Sunnis and stoking Sunni-Shiite tensions.