March 14 Declares Geagea Its Presidential Candidate as Mustaqbal, Kataeb Officially Announce Supporting Him

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Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea succeeded on Tuesday in gathering the support of the March 14 alliance in his run for presidency, on the eve of a parliamentary session dedicated for holding the first round of vote on a new head of state.

March 14 leaders convened in the evening at the Center House, and declared Geagea as their candidate for presidency.

“We discussed the presidential elections and we stressed the importance of respecting constitutional deadlines,” the alliance said in a statement after the talks.

“And after communicating with all parties, leaders and political figures in the coalition, we confirm supporting the nomination of Geagea and we consider that his candidacy is a representation of the principles on which the Cedar Revolution and March 14 were based,” it added.

“We hope all MPs will consider (Wednesday’s session) an opportunity to cross towards establishing a state in Lebanon.”

MTV noted that MPs Marwan Hamadeh, Antoine Saad and Fouad al-Saad attended March 14 coalition’s meeting, hours after Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat announced the revival of the Democratic Gathering parliamentary bloc and the nomination of its member MP Henri Helou for the presidency.

However, it was not immediately clear whether they will vote for Geagea or Helou.

Earlier in the day, both the Kataeb Party and al-Mustaqbal bloc also announced that Geagea is their presidential candidate.

The Kataeb Party stated that it will attend Wednesday’s parliamentary session aimed at electing a new president.

MP Elie Marouni said after the party’s meeting: “We will take part in the session and vote for LF leader Samir Geagea as president.”

“The party is working on bolstering the unity of the March 14 alliance to help it in the electoral process to ensure Geagea’s victory,” he added in a brief statement.

Later on Tuesday, Geagea telephoned Kataeb leader Amin Gemayel to thank him for his support in the run for office.

“The LF and the Kataeb have always shared the same path,” Geagea said.

The Kataeb political bureau announced on Monday that “the current period requires — more than ever — the presence of a competent president at the helm of the country, given the ongoing challenges and the fateful transformations that are surrounding Lebanon and the Middle East.”

“Accordingly, the political bureau stressed the need to preserve the unity and solidarity of the March 14 forces … so that their candidate can seek to garner the broadest national support,” it added.

Also on Tuesday, al-Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc convened at the Center House and officially announced endorsing Geagea’s candidacy for presidency.

“Geagea’s presidential program reflects the aspirations of a majority of the Lebanese in having an independent, sovereign and free state who has a monopoly of power over Lebanese territories,” a statement issued by the MPs said after the meeting.

The statement continued: “This program is also a reflection of the principles and core values of the independence revolution and of the March 14 coalition in facing projects of hegemony and military and security domination.”

The MPs emphasized the March 14 alliance’s unity.

“We must preserve this solidarity especially as Hizbullah’s weaponry is developing and attempting to take control of the country, and as the party is participating in the fighting in Syria alongside an oppressive regime that has lost its legitimacy,” they explained.

The bloc’s statement comes on day earlier MP Ahmed Fatfat announced after meeting with a LF delegation that al-Mustaqbal lawmakers “fully support” Geagea for presidency.

However, and while the bloc has officially announced endorsing Geagea’s run for office, the decision of the northern city of Tripoli’s MPs is still ambiguous. Reports have said that the Tripoli MPs will not back the LF leader, especially as northern residents have openly voiced their rejection of his nomination and even took to the streets to condemn any possible support by the city’s MPs to his candidacy.

Geagea and Democratic Gathering MP Henri Helou are so far the only two candidates running in the elections.

The March 8 camp has not yet declared a candidate for the polls.

Parliament is expected to convene on Wednesday to elect a president amid concerns that the needed quorum will not be met.

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