Aoun Sends Message to Hariri that he Wouldn't Announce Candidacy without Consensus

Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil has reportedly told the adviser of al-Mustaqbal movement leader Saad Hariri that Free Patriotic Movement chief Michel Aoun would not announce his candidacy for the presidency if there was no political consensus on him.

During a meeting with Nader Hariri on Sunday night, Bassil, who is Aoun's son-in-law, said the FPM leader rejected his possible candidacy to be considered against the presidential bid of Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea.

Bassil asked Nader Hariri to inform the head of al-Mustaqbal and the former prime minister about such a stance, al-Joumhouria daily reported.

The newspaper said that the meeting between Bassil and Nader Hariri was held in the presence of several officials from the FPM and al-Mustaqbal.

It came after similar talks between al-Mustaqbal movement's envoy and Geagea in Maarab on Saturday.

Nader Hariri is expected to travel to Riyadh soon to brief the Mustaqbal leader on the results of his talks.

Al-Joumhouria quoted the movement's officials as saying that there was not yet a final deal within the March 14 alliance to consider Geagea as the camps sole presidential candidate.

“This needs more time and contacts to overcome the rest of obstacles in that regard,” the officials, who were not named, said.

Geagea's press office said Tuesday that he has also met with another Hariri envoy, former MP Ghattas Khoury, to discuss the presidential elections.

Monday's “talks focused on the importance of preserving the unity of the March 14 alliance at this stage to bring a single candidate from the coalition to the presidency,” the statement said.

Geagea announced last week that he would run for president, throwing the March 14 coalition in confusion after several of its officials said that the camp would have a single candidate.



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