Harb Meets Gemayel: We Reject Extortion over Presidential Polls

Telecommunications Minister Butros Harb stated on Wednesday that he will reveal his stance over Monday's Maarab meeting after carrying out the necessary consultations.

He said after holding talks with Kataeb Party chief MP Sami Gemayel: “We reject political extortion over the presidential elections.”

He also declared that given the choice between Change and Reform bloc chief MP Michel Aoun and Marada Movement leader MP Suleiman Franjieh, he would opt for the latter.

“It is normal to hold consultations to reach a suitable decision over the current situation and what happened in the past two days is a step towards ending” the political deadlock, added Harb.

“We welcome any initiative aimed at ending the vacuum,” he stressed.

“Lebanon's future however is based on principles, not political deals,” he remarked.

“I hope the Maarab meeting was a sign that factions have realized the importance of resorting to democratic means to end the vacuum,” he said.

“We hope the regional circumstances would allow us to elect a president,” stated the minister.

A meeting was held at Maarab on Monday between Aoun and his rival Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea during which the latter nominated the MP for the presidency.

The move was seen as a breakthrough in ending the vacuum that started in May 2014 when the term of President Michel Suleiman ended without the election of a successor.

The next electoral session is scheduled for February 2.



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