Geagea, Berri in War of Words over Aoun's Candidacy

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Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea's support for the candidacy of Free Patriotic Movement founder MP Michel Aoun has sparked a war of words between Geagea and Speaker Nabih Berri.

Berri was asked by his visitors about a recent comment made by Geagea that the ball is now in the court of Hizbullah, which should force its allies to vote for Aoun as president if it were true in its intentions to support him.

“What should Hizbullah do?” the speaker wondered. “Do they want it to put a gun, a rifle or a rocket in the head of Saad Hariri, Walid Jumblat, Suleiman Franjieh and Nabih Berri to elect a certain candidate?”

“Things are not done that way,” Berri said.

But Geagea responded via twitter, asking "on what grounds Michel Aoun is the candidate of the March 8” alliance.

The LF chief's tweet promoted a response from Berri, who said: “On the same grounds of your nomination by the March 14” alliance.

The war of words came as Berri told his visitors in remarks published in newspapers on Monday that the February 8 session set for the election of a president will most likely be adjourned for lack of quorum.

He ruled out the election of a new president in the upcoming session after Geagea's endorsement of Aoun's candidacy last week.

Several parties, including Berri's Amal Movement, al-Mustaqbal Movement that is led by ex-PM Saad Hariri and MP Walid Jumblat's Progressive Socialist Party, have announced their support for Marada chief Suleiman Franjieh.

Asked whether Hizbullah was capable of pressuring the Marada chief, who is also a lawmaker, into withdrawing from the presidential race, the speaker asked: “Why would Franjieh accept to pull out” of the race as long as he has the strongest backing?

Berri had reiterated on several occasions that he would call for a parliamentary session to elect a president as soon as the Christians agree on a candidate.

Last week, Geagea withdrew from the presidential race and backed his long-time rival Aoun in an attempt to end the 20-month deadlock that left Baabda Palace vacant following the end of President Michel Suleiman's six-year term in May 2014.

The LF chief's support for Aoun came more than a month after Hariri struck a deal with Franjieh to back him for the presidency in return for the Mustaqbal leader to be chosen as a prime minister.

The move angered both Aoun and Geagea, who announced their rapprochement last Monday. But the two officials failed to strike a deal with Marada and the Kataeb Party, the two other influential Christian parties in the country.

“The Aoun-Geagea agreement is not enough,” Berri said. “How about the two other parties?” he asked.

The seat of the Maronite church has stressed that “there are four powerful Christian parties and that there should be consensus among them on the next president,” Berri told his visitors.

He said that he has advised two FPM officials, Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil and Education Minister Elias Abou Saab, to visit Franjieh and strike a deal with him.

Berri reiterated that the LF-FPM rapprochement is a great leap forward in inter-Christian ties but does not resolve the presidential crisis.

G.K.

D.A.

Comments 31
Default-user-icon Kazan (Guest) 25 January 2016, 08:13

Throughout history politicians abused the religion for their individual interests (Europe 1000A.D till begin 1900), by so doing populations were divided and wars were the result. Lebanon situation can be compared to medieval Europe, because of religion differences the population is divided. Moreover, because of the Lebanese history ( in fact no history), the Lebanese are accustomed to be governed by foreigners (in the past 400 years ,Ottomans , French, Americans you name it...).
All attempts to solve the presidential crisis are window dressing, like in the past it will distract the attention for a while.

Default-user-icon kazan (Guest) 25 January 2016, 08:16

Throughout history politicians abused the religion for their individual interests (Europe 1000A.D till begin 1900), by so doing populations were divided and wars were the result. Lebanon situation can be compared to medieval Europe, because of religion differences the population is divided. Moreover, because of the Lebanese history ( in fact no history), the Lebanese are accustomed to be governed by foreigners (in the past 400 years ,Ottomans , French, Americans you name it...).
All attempts to solve the presidential crisis are window dressing, like in the past it will distract the attention for a while.

Default-user-icon lucky (Guest) 25 January 2016, 08:23

and the wheel churnes round again

Thumb ex-fpm 25 January 2016, 09:03

Speaker Nabih Berri has confirmed that the next parliamentary session set for the election of a new president will meet the fate of its predecessors.....

There are 2 March 8 candidates and they are now the only two viable candidates yet the Hezbollah dominated M8 ( thank you Syria ) alliance will not elect any of those two. But, it is KSA that is obstructing the elections.

Default-user-icon Fawaz al Tibnini (Guest) 25 January 2016, 09:44

Hezballah and Mr Berri are correct in doing everything in their power to stop the election of the Maronite president. It's there right and prerogative to stall until the regional climate is right to throw Taef accord, and all the unfair privileges it allows to the 24% Christian minority especially the Maronite sect, into the dustbin of history and elect a president who represents the Shiaa majority. The new day is dawning my fellow Lebanese a day of true fairness and reprentave government ruled by the dispossessed overwhelming majority Shiaas!

Missing humble 25 January 2016, 10:12

And whose culture is back aged and whose level of intellect is below zero.

Missing humble 25 January 2016, 10:13

I agree. I do not want to live with people whose heart is filled with hatred.

Default-user-icon Stephan (Guest) 25 January 2016, 14:16

And where did your sub intellectual brain come out with your arbitrary number of 24% You must have gone and counted them yourself. No point arguing with a moron like you.

Default-user-icon chrisraslau aka Fawaz (Guest) 25 January 2016, 14:20

well said chris abbas

Default-user-icon mowaten (Guest) 25 January 2016, 14:21

@lebjack
do you also think that i post under 100 different screen names?

Default-user-icon Sharon (Guest) 26 January 2016, 07:01

hmm, does this apply to Alawites too? lol ;-)

Missing humble 25 January 2016, 10:54

Ebola supporters are finally revealing their true identity and objectives.

Missing humble 25 January 2016, 10:55

They never read History to learn that the Christians founded Lebanon....and never read Geography to learn that there are more than 7 million Lebanese Christians outside Lebanon....

Missing humble 25 January 2016, 10:59

Also They never understood - because of their hatred - how the idea of "Living Together" can lead to a beautiful country...

Primitive people...

Missing humble 25 January 2016, 13:14

You need another 1000 years to learn about democracy...

Default-user-icon mustapha o. ghalayini (Guest) 25 January 2016, 16:10

druze founded lebanon since fakhreddine,and outside is not inside....

Default-user-icon Water pistol (Guest) 25 January 2016, 11:14

Who the heck said anything about gunpoint, a little nudge, push, coax and a couple of black shirts where needed would suffice nothing more than the usual fair the hezb has been regaling us with for the past decade and POUF, quorum complete and a new president is born.. Unless The herb is obstructing the election of a president for a completely different reason, waiting on the secret word from Iran perhaps?

PS: Btw ya 7adrat al asteez Nabih, the constitution does not mention a quorum past the first ballot, only a vote of half plus one the two third quorum is of your own invention shame of the MPs M14 & M8 for accepting it.. just saying?

Thumb tric.portugal 25 January 2016, 13:32

“Do they want it to put a gun, a rifle or a rocket in the head of Saad Hariri, Walid Jumblat, Suleiman Franjieh and Nabih Berri to elect a certain candidate?”
.
a certain candidate!!!?? it´s the Candidate of Maronite-Ortodoxes!! Aoun is the Presdent of Lebanon by decret of Lebaneses Maronites and Ortodoxes!

Missing un520 25 January 2016, 13:38

So, what Berii is saying is that until ALL christians agree on the same candidate, there will be no president. How is that for democracy? It works in shiah street perhaps, but not with the christians. He even has the nerve to speak on behalt of the maronite church claiming four voices that have to sing the same tune. Thats not what I heard from several maronite church officials after the Maraab-agreement. They now look forward to Berri and others to respect their words. By continue to obstruct the christians having their candidate of choise, they are buiding up pressure like a steam boiler. Sooner or later the people will hit the streets.

Thumb tric.portugal 25 January 2016, 13:43

"Speaker Berri replies to Geagea: March 8 has nominated Aoun on similar basis that March 14 used to nominate you."
.
what is the similir basis...dividing the Cristhians!!

Thumb tric.portugal 25 January 2016, 14:29

“The Aoun-Geagea agreement is not enough,” Berri said. “How about the two other parties?” he asked
.
Berri, other two!!!???...

Missing un520 25 January 2016, 15:21

Its like the Chebaa-farms issue: If Lebanon gets back the Chebaa-farms, they want the seven villages (or whatever they are called), after they get back the seven villages, they want another piece of land. Truth is they just want an excuse for keeping their guns.
Same with the president. If FPM and LF agree, they want Kataeb to agree. If Kataeb agree, they want Franjieh to agree. If Franjieh agrees, they want Dory Chamoun, Carlos Edde, Boutros Harb and God knows who. Truth is they just dont want Michael Aoun for president.

Thumb ado.australia 25 January 2016, 16:07

The usual suspects are scrambling... Berri, Jumblatt, Harri etc. What to do with the unexpected maronite alliance? The same group who have divied up Lebanon to the foreign occupiers are now confused to which Presidential candidate is acceptable to their foreign lords! Aoun or Frangieh? It shouldn't be that hard! Geagea has really shocked them all! I fear for Geagea's life now. Be careful ya Hakim. Any previous Lebanese Politician that has been that bold and nationalist has been assassinated !

Thumb ado.australia 25 January 2016, 16:10

Imam Musa Sadr, President Bashir Gemayel, Grand Mufti Hassan Khaled, Danny Chamoun, PM Rifik Hariri...list goes on!

Thumb ado.australia 25 January 2016, 16:12

Lebanese must stay sectarian and divided!!

Thumb ado.australia 25 January 2016, 16:13

there is no room or acceptance for a strong Republic of Lebanon!

Missing bigjohn 25 January 2016, 16:33

If berri is playing games so no president gets elected, why don't Jumblatt and Hariri support Aoun? Is it to weaken Aoun Christian supporters by driving a wedge among M8 Christian supporters?

I never cared about the corrupt and Undemocratic nature of Lebanese politics.

Thumb beiruti 25 January 2016, 16:37

The statements from Berri and Nasrallah that they support Aoun as their candidate for the Presidency was not genuine. Berri's support of Frangieh is not genuine. What they want is to break down Taif, end the current order of 50-50 split with the Christians and a Christian Presidency and to do this by boycotting the legitimacy of the current state institutions. Aoun has been complicit in the effort with his hardheaded demand to be the consensus president. Berri and Nasrallah have hid their true agenda behind this impossible demand so as to deflect criticism.
Geagea by endorsing Aoun and withdrawing his candidacy has shown the bright light on Berri and Narallah who are hiding behind Aoun.

Default-user-icon simon (Guest) 25 January 2016, 18:21

It is time to break the country into pieces... The big plan is happening.

Missing un520 25 January 2016, 22:12

They dont need to be so brutal as to kill Aoun, they just have to let time take its course playing the waiting game and Aouns age will catch up with him. I do hope that they dont succeed with these tactics, but its gonna take strong words from key opinion leaders as well as people in the streets.

Missing the_truth 26 January 2016, 00:07

Christians uniting is the only way to save lebanon from the radical muslim agenda... Whether it be shia or sunni, they are lead by Ksa and Iran, which is not Lebanese. So good on Geagea and Aoun for realizing this. Christianity is the only thing keeping Lebanon a place of tourism and hope for Lebanese world wide. Because as long as the president is Chrisitian radical Isalm will not prevail. It will also keep muslims who respect Islam and its true meaning safe from those who have misinterpreted what prohet Mohamed preached. Its sad to say a religion so peaceful has been demolished by the likes of the radical kufar