Hariri Formally Endorses Aoun, Says Decision a 'Major Political Risk' that He's Willing to Take

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Al-Mustaqbal Movement leader ex-PM Saad Hariri formally endorsed Thursday the presidential nomination of Free Patriotic Movement founder MP Michel Aoun, describing his decision as a “major political risk” that he is willing to take for the sake of the country.

“Based on the points of agreement that we have reached, I announce today before you my decision to endorse the nomination of General Michel Aoun for the presidency of the republic,” said Hariri in a speech at the Center House -- his downtown Beirut residence.

“This decision stems from the need to protect Lebanon, the political system, the State and people... It is a decision based on an agreement to cooperate to preserve the system, strengthen the State, reactivate economy and dissociate ourselves from the Syrian crisis,” he added.

He noted that Aoun will be “a president for all Lebanese and a guardian of their sovereignty, freedom, independence, and the choices that unite them, not the choices of discord.”

“He will be keen, like us, on showing openness towards all political forces,” Hariri reassured.

Disclosing the agreements that preceded his decision to endorse Aoun, the ex-PM said he agreed with the FPM founder on preserving “the State and the political system.”

“We openly agreed that no one will propose any amendment to the system before securing national consensus from all Lebanese on such a proposal,” he added.

“In our dialogue, we also agreed on reactivating the State and its institutions and reviving the economy, the main services and job opportunities,” Hariri revealed.

“We also reached an agreement on fully dissociating our State, the Lebanese State, from the crisis in Syria. We want to protect our country from this crisis... and we would restore our normal ties with the Syrians after the end of the crisis and after the Syrians agree on their system, country and state,” the ex-PM added.

He noted that he reached the choice of endorsing Aoun after exhausting all other options.

“Our first choice in nominating (Lebanese Forces leader) Dr. Samir Geagea, ex-president Amin Gemayel or any March 14 representative failed to produce a president. Our second choice of a consensual, centrist candidate also did not lead to the election of a president.

“And our third choice in nominating Suleiman Beik Franjieh, who has become a friend and will remain a friend, also did not lead to a president, seeing as no party other than us made a real attempt to secure his election,” he said.

“We had only one choice left: General Michel Aoun. I'm saying it clearly and frankly, especially after our allies in the LF endorsed his nomination,” Hariri explained.

He described his step as “a political settlement par excellence.”

“I know that a lot of you are not convinced with what I'm doing and some of you fear the risks that it poses to me, personally and politically. I know that a lot of you have doubts regarding Hizbullah's true intentions... and are suggesting that I'm sacrificing my popularity and maybe some votes in the next parliamentary polls,” he added.

“Yes, this is a major political risk, but I'm willing to risk myself, my popularity and my political future one thousand times to protect all of you,” Hariri went on to say.

“It will not be the first time that we sacrifice our political and popular interests for the sake of the country, the State and stability,” he added.

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 had launched an initiative in late 2015 to nominate Hizbullah's ally 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 have argued 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.

Comments 55
Thumb libanaisresilient 20 October 2016, 17:18

He's desperate for the Premiership, would endorse Satan if it was running for president!

Thumb .mowaten. 20 October 2016, 17:32

no susprise here terroro, you would only endorse the ones seeking war chaos and strife. we all know what you "stand" for.

Thumb .mowaten. 20 October 2016, 17:41

"Hariri: I declare my support for General Michel Aoun's presidential nomination, based on the points that we have agreed on."

Aoun is the one and only legitimate candidate for President, it took two years but finally this has been recognized by all.

Thumb eagledawn 20 October 2016, 17:41

habboub irani dont be so pathetic. when you have nothing to say, say nothing.

Thumb .mowaten. 20 October 2016, 17:42

what would you do eagleyawn if you didnt have my words to steal?

Thumb Southern...... 20 October 2016, 17:45

@terr:
Rafik Hariri enjoyed very good relation with the Lebanese resistance, it seems that his son may follow the line.. you statement doesn't surprise anyone, since you follow the zionist state line... now paint your face, since things are not going according to your projection, really stupid.

Thumb eagledawn 20 October 2016, 17:49

trolls will speak of everything except the points that matter.

Thumb Mystic 20 October 2016, 17:56

Well rather want Hariri is premier than Rifi.
Hariri knows when he have lost a battle, Rifi rather want to run in circles and drag the whole country down with him.

Thumb .mowaten. 20 October 2016, 18:10

mabrouk to Lebanon, and condolences to the hate group. you guys are really getting more and more isolated. who's left with you? rifi? good luck with that mafioso.

Missing ArabDemocrat.com 20 October 2016, 21:29

Lebanese Lexicon: Strong is a person who is willing to crash and burn the country so he can be president. Weak is a person who is willing to pay the ultimate political price so his country does not crash and burn. Anyone with iota of brain realizes that Aoun is willing to crash the country to realize his ambitions. I may not agree with Hariri action but I can definitely understand it - choosing the least bad of a lousy situation.

Default-user-icon Brasilian-Roar (Guest) 21 October 2016, 07:13

Saadedine Hariri is the only world leader working for Lebanon's interests at the moment. The rest...... not sure.

Thumb libanaisresilient 20 October 2016, 17:26

What would've Rafik Hariri done if he was bankrupting and the only option at sight was the premiership in order to regain some relevance in KSA and direct some public contracts to his Companies?

Thumb thepatriot 20 October 2016, 17:36

A crazy old lunatic is going to be our President... Hurray!

Thumb ice-man 20 October 2016, 17:37

Allah, Nassrallah, Hariri, Aoun W'bassss!

Thumb Southern...... 20 October 2016, 17:49

what about Gigi, he endorses Aoun too.

disappointed MF (My Friend), no?

Thumb sophia_angle 21 October 2016, 09:16

Allah, Nassrallah, Hariri, Jaja w Aoun w basssss

Thumb libanaisresilient 20 October 2016, 17:37

Hopefully, Saad is giving a shot in his own feet by endorsing Aoun, Let's Face Facts He would not do better for Lebanon as PM than he did for his own Business, incompetence in Business Administration doesn't make efficiency in public affairs.

Thumb Mystic 20 October 2016, 17:48

Hariris own people already called him a weak person and alot of bad things from his own Tripoli stronghold.

Thumb Mystic 20 October 2016, 17:52

Now Hariri rather wants to live together than to follow Rifi running in circles, we do not have to love each other.
Hariris position will be respected and now this might be more stable Government and institutions.

Thumb libanaisresilient 20 October 2016, 17:58

@Mystic Did you hear this part of his speech: "based on the points that we have agreed on..." And still have courage to tell people that he has done it for the Country's safety! He has done it for the sake of his own Party and Business!

Thumb Southern...... 20 October 2016, 18:03

i haven't seen @texas the drug merchandiser from Mexico to Usa through texas around here yet, he must be disappointed with his heroes, till yesterday the Saudi stooges.

Thumb .mowaten. 20 October 2016, 18:13

as much as I would want it to be, our system is not a full democracy with universal suffrage. the president is elected through the parliament, which have to agree on a candidate that fulfills certain conditions like being maronite and being legitimate through his representativity and public support.

Thumb .mowaten. 20 October 2016, 18:15

elections can be suspended if the quorum is not met, and that is straight out of the consitution. this means that a majority alone is not enough, and that over two thirds of the parliament must not be opposed to a certain candidate. that's not ideal, but that's how it is.

Thumb .mowaten. 20 October 2016, 18:17

one way to break the stalemate would have been to hold fresh parliamentary elections (that are way overdue), and see if the new layout would give either candidate the required numbers, but apparently nobody wanted that

Thumb walid121 20 October 2016, 18:19

.mowaten. I'm not a big poster here but I have been using this site for over 41 years and recently I have been liking your posts, you're the only one informing these deluded ignorants. :)

Thumb .mowaten. 20 October 2016, 18:19

As much as you may dislike Aoun, he is in no way a war criminal. He took part in the war, as a general in the army, yes. But there are no cases where he committed or ordered war crimes.

Thumb .mowaten. 20 October 2016, 18:22

As for your last remark (Ma fee 7ada bhal balad illa hal orta? Walla 3eyb...) this can be said also about the US, like seriously, 300m people and the only two they could come up with were trump and hillary? it sound ridiculous, and there are certainly better suited people out there, but that is the situation that the current balance of powers produced, and the people will have to deal with it. same thing with lebanon

Thumb thepatriot 20 October 2016, 18:32

He is a deserter.

Thumb .mowaten. 20 October 2016, 18:38

that also isnt true

Thumb liberty 21 October 2016, 05:55

whatever the despicable iranian troll says is the truth.

Thumb thepatriot 20 October 2016, 18:47

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQky3pfyJTY

Yeah... I must be delusional..

Missing humble 20 October 2016, 19:03

Biggest Historical mistake: a mareedman at the top.
Mark my words.

Thumb libanaisresilient 20 October 2016, 19:09

@libanobrasil you're confusing roles here my Dear! Actually all Wahabi terrorists have plenty of reasons to support Saudi affiliated Political parties! Inform yourself before commenting pls.

Thumb justin 20 October 2016, 19:10

18:50
الرئيس ميقاتي معلّقاً على موقف الرئيس الحريري عبر "تويتر": مغامرة جديدة نخشى أن تقود الوطن إلى مزيد من الإنقسام والتأزم. أعان الله لبنان واللبنانيين.

Thumb libanaisresilient 20 October 2016, 19:13

FPM and Hizbollah have a Deal, Wake up pls! Face reality, Aoun will be elected no matter how long it takes, and Hariri will not be PM again.

Default-user-icon sophia_angle (Guest) 20 October 2016, 19:16

With general aoun's good looks and hariri's brains, Lebanon will be like Switzerland again and the best country in the Middle East after Iran.

Thumb libanaisresilient 20 October 2016, 19:19

And Sorry, but Premiership is not reduced to a bad Business administrator (Hariri) and an advocate of sectarianism (Rifi) as you make it sound! There are other neutral and better Candidates.

Thumb libanaisresilient 20 October 2016, 19:23

@peace007 it would be great if Hariri and co. were actually concerned about the future of the people... This desperate move is more about self benefits.

Default-user-icon terrorist-wannabe (Guest) 20 October 2016, 20:19

terrorist,

I was about 11 when I first saw you commenting here, and I'm now 43! As the years went by, you never gave up! You still reside here, bloviating away! What a soldier!

I envy you: being stuck in my mommy's basement, having no life other using the computer (do you pronounce that as KOMButah when speaking to mama?)to berate just about everything on Naharnet using half-baked English which your diminutive mind confuses for "wit", must be so daunting a task, huh? Do you, like, ummm...keep a tab? You know, like a scoreboard, which you tick every day, as to which article you commented on, what, where, and how? If so, wow! You're the most special snowflake I've ever come across. You deserve the utmost respect of the patients found across all mental wards in the Lebanese Republic.

What a life! What prompted you to embark on this noble journey? The root cause, I mean. Is it a result of being....obese? Microscopic genitals?

Thumb justice 20 October 2016, 20:29

just read the responsible words of the FPM

20:28النائب الان عون للـ"OTV": لم تنضج الامور من أجل الوصول إلى قانون انتخابي جديد لذا سنأكل العصفور الذي في اليد وهو رئاسة الجمهوريّة وسننتظر لنأكل العصافير التي على الشجرة لكن من المؤكد أن لا مقايضة في هذا الملف.

Thumb justice 20 October 2016, 20:57

or expect a major assassination

Thumb justice 20 October 2016, 21:14

20:49عون: نحترم حرية رأي الرئيس بري.

he respects Berri's militia it seems.

Thumb liberty 21 October 2016, 05:57

When you have a militia of thugs, Aoun respects you. But if you don't, he will accuse you of violating the national pact and marginalizing the Christians.

Missing bigjohn 20 October 2016, 21:48

Anyone who expect ANY big change does not know Lebanon. The president elects a PM who can not be opposed by M14 or M8 who elects a cabinet that can not be opposed by M8 or M14.

The Lebanese "state" will continue to be dependent on the US banking system and dictated by the Israeli lobby in Washington who demand that the Lebanese Armed forces remain weak and NOT allowed to receive significant amount of REAL weapons from ANY source to deter Israeli aggression. The majority of Lebanese will continue to support the Lebanese resistance who will continue to be more powerful than this "state" UNTIL the fall of the dollar, American Empire, and the Zionist Apartheid state.

Missing bigjohn 21 October 2016, 01:06

This shows your ignorance. The US and the KSA supported Syrian "occupation" of Lebanon. Why do you think the US supported "Syrian" rule from 1990 and and why did it stop after 2003? HA, under the Syrian agreement with Zionist America were not even allowed in the government cabinet between 1990 and 2005. The Lebanese "state" like now and like the last 70 years is run by the American banking system. The lousy Syrian regime collaborated with the Zionist American enemy most of that period. The LEBANESE armed forces and the "state" NEVER fought the Israeli invaders and the US made sure that No Lebanese government is strong enough to resist Israeli aggression. The ONLY way for the Lebanese "state" not to be a slave "state" of Zionist America is to stop using the dollar, which will unleash American economic sanctions on Lebanon. Again, when the dollar falls, the American Empire falls, and Zionist Apartheid state falls, then the Lebanese "state" will be a STATE.

Missing bigjohn 21 October 2016, 01:26

You could NEVER argue ANY points, other than to say "LIES" and "Pasdaran" and make irrelevant points. Do you think Atheist intellectuals like Ziad Rihbani and As'ad Abu Khalil are "pasdaran"?

Thumb liberty 21 October 2016, 05:58

"The president elects a PM who can not be opposed"

what are you smoking?

Missing bigjohn 21 October 2016, 15:54

What I meant was M14 and M8 must approve which PM the president elects.

Missing bigjohn 21 October 2016, 15:57

"What is that Ziad Rahbani can't have a theatrical play in Dahieh! Why is that?"...This is your ignorant response, which is totally irrelevant to what I am saying. By the way, people of Dahiye and TRIPOLI can see Ziad Rihbani outside of Dahiye and Tripoli.

Missing bigjohn 21 October 2016, 16:01

You have a problem with comprehension! the Only little thing the Assads have done in the last 25 years is allow weapons to flow to the resistance. Otherwise, they were American collaborators. Am I calling him a hero?

Thumb AbouFou2ad 20 October 2016, 22:52

so what happens now, will aoun and hezballah attend oct 31's session even if they cannot grantee aoun the needed votes?

Missing bigjohn 21 October 2016, 01:09

Unless there is an agreement with the big FOUR Amal, Jumblatt, Hariri, and HA nothing will happen.

Missing lebaneseamerican1 21 October 2016, 00:10

It's kind of ironic. If parliament convenes on Oct. 31, Michel Aoun will be elected on Halloween day...

Thumb liberty 21 October 2016, 06:56

@southie/roar

are you still working as a night security guard?

Thumb libanaisresilient 21 October 2016, 17:58

@1anonymetexasusa you got a theory, and it makes sense, but what I said is: Aoun is the candidate of Hizbollah and it will not change and M8 has no intention to give Premiership back to Hariri.