Gemayel to Run for Presidency Only if Rival Parties Support him

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Kataeb Party leader Amin Gemayel expressed belief on Monday that the upcoming president should have the widest support to be able to rule, saying that he will not run for the post if he wasn’t a consensual head of state.

“The March 14 alliance is seriously discussing ways to end the presidential deadlock,” Gemayel said in an interview with the pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat.

He pointed out he will continue his initiative to resolve the presidential impasse ahead of May 25, ruling out any near meeting with Hizbullah Chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.

Gemayel has met with several leaders in the country in the past week as part of his initiative to resolve the presidential deadlock.

He has held talks so far with Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea, Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun, Marada movement leader MP Suleiman Franjieh and Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat.

“There are ongoing contacts between our lawmakers and the Loyalty to the Resistance parliamentary bloc but a meeting with Nasrallah isn’t scheduled,” the Christian leader said.

He told the daily that consultations between the political arch-foes will continue even if the March 8 and 14 alliances failed to agree on a presidential candidate ahead of the end of outgoing President Michel Suleiman’s tenure on May 25.

“We will double our efforts to resolve the obstacles,” Gemayel said.

The Kataeb leader expressed concern over possible vacuum at the helm of the country’s most important Christian post, considering it “destabilizes the power-sharing agreement.”

There are fears that the vacuum in the country’s top Christian post would affect Lebanon’s power-sharing agreement under which the president should be a Maronite, the premier a Sunni and the speaker a Shiite.

“Lebanese leaderships could reach a common ground if they agreed to work together… We prefer that any solution would be made in Lebanon, which isn’t impossible if a serious dialogue was staged,” Gemayel noted.

He continued: “Vacuum should be averted… And the international community should help Lebanon to overcome this crisis instead of placing obstacles as stability in Lebanon has a positive impact on the region.”

He criticized the March 8 alliance for “acting stiff” regarding the presidential consultation as the March 14 is seeking to resolve the dispute.

“Stubbornness will not benefit any side and everyone should be convinced that we must reach a settlement that safeguards the country and the presidency.”

The members of Aoun’s Change and Reform bloc along with Hizbullah and the rest of the March 8 parties, except for Speaker Nabih Berri’s lawmakers, are boycotting the parliamentary sessions causing a lack of the needed two-thirds quorum of the 128-member legislature.

The March 14 official said that the upcoming president should “believe in the national principals and seek to achieve them, fortify stability and play a positive role in the region.”

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