Labor Minister Sejaan Qazzi announced on Wednesday that Kataeb Party chief Amin Gemayel is a candidate for the second parliamentary session set to elect a new president, stressing that the March 14 alliance will cast votes to Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea in the first round.
“Gemayel has been a candidate for months... Discussions are focusing on how to secure his victory... The upcoming stage will determine when he enters the presidential race,” Qazzi said.
Minister Qazzi, who is also the deputy chief of the Kataeb party, said in remarks to Voice of Lebanon radio (100.5) that in the light of Wednesday's parliamentary session the March 14 coalition will hold a meeting to set its strategy for the upcoming stage.
However, the official said that “voting for Geagea in the first round is to stress the unity of the March 14 alliance.”
On Tuesday, March 14 leaders convened at the Center House and declared Geagea as their candidate for presidency.
As Safir newspaper reported on Wednesday that Gemayel is the “obvious candidate for the second parliamentary session after Geagea fails to earn the required votes in the first round.”
The daily said that Gemayel and head of al-Mustaqbal movement Saad Hariri realize that Geagea has no chance to win the presidential vote.
“There is a political bill that we need to repay Geagea in the first round after that we will seek to name a serious candidate,” the newspaper quoted sources close to Hariri as saying.
As Safir said that Geagea's allies who will vote for him on Wednesday “are those who want to burn him.”
Wednesday's first round of parliamentary deliberations to vote for a new president is expected to fail to elect a new president amid disputes over the name of the new head of state, which threatens a vacuum at the helm of the country's most important Christian post.
Parliamentary blocs will vote for two candidates on Wednesday - Geagea and the Democratic Gathering parliamentary bloc member, MP Henri Helou.
The daily's report continues that Free Patriotic Movement chief Michel Aoun, who previously said that he wouldn't announce his candidacy if the rivals didn't reach a deal on him, will kick off “serious” discussions with al-Mustaqbal movement after the first round of voting.
As Safir said that contacts were held between Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil, an FPM official, and Hariri's adviser Nader al-Hariri to discuss Aoun's participation in Wednesday's session.
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