Geagea to Propose Partnership with Hizbullah if Elected as President

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea revealed on Friday that he will propose to Hizbullah if he was elected as president “real partnership,” considering that the theory of “vacuum at the presidential post is better than choosing a weak head of state” has crumbled after he ran for the presidency.

“I will suggest real partnership with Hizbullah to build a state that is capable with the army's weapons as the only means to protect all the citizens,” Geagea said in an interview with As Safir newspaper.

He noted that the “Shiites are the ones mostly harmed by the ongoing status-quo in the country.”

“The army and with its available capabilities could replace Hizbullah's role in the conflict with Israel as the elite forces could deploy and engage in operations according to the necessary needs,” the Christian leader added.

Geagea stressed that his run for presidency is “serious,” admitting that his “journey to the Baabda Palace would be hard.”

“I realize all this... but there's nothing impossible in politics.”

Concerning consultations with the March 14 allies over his decision, the LF leader told As Safir that “he is mulling with his allies his chances,” noting that “al-Mustaqbal movement's decision will be according to its convictions.”

Geagea denied that his move “was to embarrass (Mustaqbal movement) leader Saad Hariri and block the way before other March 14 candidates.”

“If I didn't have the minimal level of contacts with my allies and if I wasn't convinced that I have at least crossed half the road to gain their support, I wouldn't have run for the presidency.”

He warned the political arch-foes from boycotting a parliamentary session set to elect a new president, saying: “they will pay a high price.”

“I advise the March 8 alliance not to cause vacuum at the presidential post as it will be the biggest loser,” Geagea said.

However, he told the daily that the theory of “vacuum is better than a weak president has crumbled as the March 14 coalition has a strong president candidate, who is me in principle, and the March 8 camp will have another strong candidate, who hasn't been revealed yet.”

He predicted that head of the Free Patriotic Movement MP Michel Aoun will run for presidency on behalf of the March 8 alliance.

Geagea considered that “the political power in the country is currently in favor of the March 14 coalition.”

President Michel Suleiman's six-year term ends in May but the Constitution states that the parliament should choose a new head of state within a two-month period, which was on March 25.

Geagea was the first to announce last week that he will run for the presidency.

Lebanese media have in recent weeks identified other presidential hopefuls as Kataeb party leader and ex-president Amin Gemayel, MPs Boutros Harb and Robert Ghanem, who are like Geagea members of the March 14 anti-Syria movement.

Other potential candidates are Hizbullah allies Aoun and Marada Movement leader MP Suleiman Franjieh.

Lebanese presidents are always chosen from the Christian Maronite community.

- H. K.

- G. K.

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