Pharaon Meets Geagea, Says 'Aoun-Hariri Powersharing Relieves Country'
Tourism Minister Michel Pharaon held talks Wednesday in Maarab with Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea and noted that the presence of Free Patriotic Movement founder MP Michel Aoun alongside ex-PM Saad Hariri in power would “relieve the country.”
The two-hour meeting tackled the developments of the presidential file, an LF statement said.
“The presidential file is heading towards endorsing the broad agreement on a Christian candidate... The agreement on the nomination of General Michel Aoun that enjoys Christian legitimacy has expanded to become a broader national agreement,” Pharaon said after the talks.
“As for the premiership, everyone realizes that the natural national legitimacy, not only the sectarian one, requires ex-PM Saad Hariri to become the head of the next government, especially that the Aoun-Hariri powersharing would relieve the country, immunize the National Pact and the Constitution, and allow us to address the pending problems regarding state institutions, the economy, the refugees and other issues,” Pharaon, who is close to Hariri's Mustaqbal Movement, added.
Hariri is reportedly on the verge of announcing his official endorsement of Aoun's presidential bid.
Several officials of Speaker Nabih Berri's AMAL Movement have slammed the latest Hariri-Aoun rapprochement as a return to the “1943 bilateral Sunni-Maronite powersharing format.”
Lebanon has been without a president since the term of Michel Suleiman ended in May 2014 and Hizbullah, Aoun's Change and Reform bloc and some of their allies have been boycotting the parliament's electoral sessions, stripping them of the needed quorum.
Hariri launched an initiative in late 2015 to nominate Marada Movement chief MP Suleiman Franjieh for the presidency but his proposal was met with reservations from the country's main Christian parties as well as Hizbullah.
The supporters of Aoun's presidential bid argue that he is more eligible than Franjieh to become president due to the size of his parliamentary bloc and his bigger influence in the Christian community.