Saniora, Fatfat, Houri, Makari Say 'Won't Vote for Aoun'إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Head of al-Mustaqbal bloc ex-PM Fouad Saniora, Deputy Speaker Farid Makari and Mustaqbal MPs Ahmed Fatfat and Ammar Houri announced Thursday that they would not vote for Free Patriotic Movement founder MP Michel Aoun in any presidential election session, shortly after Aoun was formally endorsed by al-Mustaqbal Movement leader ex-PM Saad Hariri.
“It is normal for me to be alongside the head of al-Mustaqbal Movement MP Saad Hariri. I have always been and I will always be, but I will not vote for General Aoun,” Saniora told reporters after Hariri's announcement.
Fatfat for his part said: “With all due respect for ex-PM Saad Hariri and his initiatives and efforts to end the presidential void, but the outcome of these efforts, especially his endorsement of General Michel Aoun for the presidency, is not compatible with my national and political principles as a founder member of al-Mustaqbal Movement and al-Mustaqbal bloc.”
He attributed his decision to “numerous political reasons and considerations” that he had “openly expressed in public statements.”
Houri meanwhile said he would not vote for Aoun out of his respect for “the Taef Accord, the policies of martyr premier Rafik Hariri, and our loyal people.”
Makari meanwhile revealed that he would “cast a blank vote.”
In his endorsement of Aoun earlier in the day, Hariri described his decision as a “major political risk” that he is willing to take for the sake of the country.
“This decision stems from the need to protect Lebanon, the political system, the State and people... It is a decision based on agreement to cooperate to preserve the system, strengthen the State, reactivate economy and dissociate ourselves from the Syrian crisis,” he said.
“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 noted.
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.