FPM Says Hizbullah has No Official Stance over Aoun's Candidacy to Presidency

Change and Reform bloc MP Alain Aoun denied on Monday that Hizbullah officially named Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun to run for presidential post.

He said in comments to Voice of Lebanon radio (100.5) that “the party has no official stance over the nomination of FPM leader for the presidency.”

Earlier on Monday, al-Akhbar newspaper quoted a prominent source in Hizbullah that the “party and its ally AMAL movement are convinced that there is no other candidate but Aoun.”

The source pointed out that “vacuum at the presidency post is a serious option,” describing those who believe that the matter is a maneuver as “delusional.”

“Vacuum at the presidency post is a better option than extending the term of Suleiman or electing a weak Christian,” the source added.

For his part, FPM caretaker Culture Minister Gaby Layyoun told Voice of Lebanon radio (93.3) that the party rejects any attempts to extend the term of Suleiman.

“Vacuum (at the post) is a better option,” the minister said.

Suleiman's six-year term ends in May 2014 but there are fears that differences between the rival March 8 and 14 alliances would lead to a further clash among the MPs and prevent them from heading to parliament to elect a new president.

The constitutional period to elect a new head of state begins on March 25, two months prior to the expiration of Suleiman’s mandate.

Last week, Aoun said in an interview with MTV channel that he's “not a candidate for the presidency unless the MPs want that.”

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