Geagea Says LF's Nomination of Aoun was a 'Game Changer'

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea announced Wednesday that the LF's endorsement of Free Patriotic Movement founder MP Michel Aoun's presidential nomination was a “game changer” in the Lebanese political arena.

“This accord between the LF and the FPM must continue and advance,” Geagea said during a meeting with the FPM's Central Media Committee and the LF's Media and Communication Apparatus.

“This reconciliation came after 35 years of discord and disagreement between brothers and we had to put an end to that once and for all,” he added.

The LF leader explained how the two parties started working on drafting the so-called Declaration of Intent before the LF became convinced of nominating Aoun for the presidency, “which was a game changer in the Lebanese political arena,” an LF statement said.

At the end of the meeting, Geagea called on the two media departments to “strengthen this approach of accord for the sake of entire Lebanon.”

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.

Ex-PM Saad 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 Geagea to endorse the nomination of Aoun, his long-time Christian rival, after months of political rapprochement talks between their two parties.

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.

Hariri's recent return to Lebanon has triggered a flurry of rumors and media reports about a possible presidential settlement and the possibility that the former premier has finally decided to endorse Aoun for the presidency in a bid to break the deadlock.

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