Khalil Says Berri's Bloc to 'Vote against Aoun', AMAL to 'Join Opposition'إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Speaker Nabih Berri's aide and Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil confirmed Tuesday that Berri's Development and Liberation bloc would “vote against” Free Patriotic Movement founder MP Michel Aoun in any presidential election session.
“The problem with General Michel Aoun cannot be resolved with a visit (to Berri) and the issue is not a matter of formalities,” Khalil was quoted as telling reporters.
Marada Movement chief “MP Suleiman Franjieh was briefing us on all the details of his agreements with ex-PM Saad Hariri, unlike the General,” the minister added.
“We will take part in the presidential election session and we will vote against Aoun and Speaker Nabih Berri will be the first person who will congratulate him,” Khalil went on to say.
He also noted that Berri's AMAL Movement would “join the ranks of the opposition” should Aoun be elected president.
“We see things heading to the Maronite-Sunni bilateral power-sharing of 1943 and we will confront this scenario,” Khalil added.
In remarks published Tuesday in al-Akhbar newspaper, aides to Berri had accused Aoun and Hariri of seeking to undermine “the partnership with political Shiism that followed the Taef Accord.”
Asked whether a return to the 1943 pact would ignite a new civil war, the sources said: “That's true. What they are doing will lead to a civil war and we will fight to defend ourselves and Hizbullah!”
MP Alain Aoun of the FPM announced Monday that Hariri will announce his endorsement of Aoun “this week.”
The ex-PM has been exploring the possibility of endorsing Aoun for several weeks now and on Sunday Education Minister Elias Bou Saab of the FPM announced that Hariri has officially decided to endorse Aoun's presidential bid.
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 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.
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.