Raad Says Situations 'Ripe' for Election of President

Hizbullah's top lawmaker MP Mohammed Raad announced Monday that the situations in Lebanon have become “ripe” for the election of a new president and ending the presidential void that has been running since May 2014.

“I believe that the situations have become ripe and we hope to see a solution in the near future,” said Raad in the southern town of Arabsalim during a ceremony marking the tenth anniversary of the 2006 war.

He also noted that Speaker Nabih Berri has recently said that “he is optimistic that a president can be elected before the end of the year.”

“Ending the presidential vacuum and electing a new president would revitalize state institutions and contribute to building the state and its agencies,” Raad added.

“This crisis would be quickly resolved when all Lebanese feel that partnership between them is inevitable,” the head of the Loyalty to Resistance bloc went on to say.

Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has hinted in a speech on Saturday that his party does not mind the appointment of al-Mustaqbal Movement leader ex-PM Saad Hariri as premier in return for the election of Free Patriotic Movement founder MP Michel Aoun as president and the re-election of Speaker Nabih Berri as head of parliament.

Lebanon has been without a president since the term of Michel Suleiman ended in May 2014 and Hizbullah, Aoun's Change and Reform bloc and some of their allies have been boycotting the parliament's electoral sessions, stripping them of the needed quorum.

Hariri, who is close to Saudi Arabia, launched an initiative in late 2015 to nominate Marada Movement chief MP Suleiman Franjieh for the presidency but his proposal was met with reservations from the country's main Christian parties as well as Hizbullah.

Hariri's move prompted Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea to endorse the nomination of Aoun, his long-time Christian rival.

The supporters of Aoun's presidential bid argue that he is more eligible than Franjieh to become president due to the size of his parliamentary bloc and his bigger influence in the Christian community.

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