Gemayel Vows Support for Aoun, Urges Him to Seek 'New Lebanon'
Kataeb Party chief MP Sami Gemayel pledged Thursday to support President Michel Aoun in the beginning of his presidential tenure while urging him to “improve the political system.”
“We will not bargain on our principles, neither for the presidential election nor for a ministerial seat or a parliamentary vote,” Gemayel said in an interview on LBCI television, explaining why Kataeb did not vote for Aoun in the presidential election.
He reiterated that “what happened in the presidential elections gave Hizbullah the power to choose the president now and in the future.”
“All parties considered that they won after the presidential vote and we're the only group in Lebanon that acknowledged its defeat,” Gemayel told LBCI.
“We will bear the responsibility for our stance and we held three days of discussions before taking our final stance and we knew that there would be an attempt to besiege Kataeb in connection with its stance,” the Kataeb chief added.
Renewing his pledge to cooperate with the new president, Gemayel said: “We now have a president and it is our duty to give him a chance, seeing as the failure of the president would be a failure for us all.”
Asked about the latest war of words with the Lebanese Forces over the formation of the new government, Gemayel noted that the row was started by LF leader Samir Geagea.
“We were not the ones who started the row with the LF but rather Dr. Geagea when he said in the media that those who did not vote for Aoun should not be in the government,” Gemayel clarified.
“What we understood from Dr. Geagea's remarks is that they do not want us in the government,” he added.
Asked why Kataeb has decided to join the new government although it did not vote for Aoun, Gemayel said: “We will join the government because it is a national unity government and to support the beginning of the presidential tenure.
“We will be the loud voice of March 14's supporters.”
Gemayel also noted that Kataeb withdrew from Tammam Salam's government “because its premier talked about its corruption.”
Separately, Kataeb's leader stressed that “we must improve our political system.”
“If General Aoun wants to be a historic president he must say that Lebanon's historic formula has failed. We must try to build a new Lebanon and we would support him in this,” he added.