Army chief meets Saudi Ambassador in Yarze

Army chief Gen. Joseph Aoun met Thursday with Saudi Ambassador in Lebanon Walid Boukhari in Yarze.

Aoun, 58, is on good terms with all sides of the political spectrum, although Hezbollah has criticized him for his close ties to Washington.

Naming him would require a constitutional amendment because of his position.

The commander, who bears no relation to former president Michel Aoun, is widely seen as a compromise candidate that lawmakers could elect if they fail to reach a consensus on their preferred choice.

Should he become president, Aoun would be the fourth former army commander to lead the country since the end of the civil war.

Aoun is the first in a list of three nominees suggested by Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat.

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea has said he does not mind his election but Jumblat failed to convince Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri of electing Aoun and the Free Patriotic Movement has frequently criticized the army chief.

Berri, for his part, has advised Jumblat to disregard the Army chief's name during a meeting between the two leaders in Ain el-Tineh, al-Akhbar newspaper reported Thursday.

The daily added that during a meeting between MP Taymour Jumblat and Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi, the Democratic Gathering Bloc lawmaker sensed positivity from al-Rahi regarding the nomination of Aoun. Fellow MP Raji Saad, who also attended the meeting, said in a statement after the talks that the name of Aoun is in the lead.

Source: Naharnet

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