Report: Change and Reform MPs to Vote for Aoun on Thursday


The Change and Reform lawmakers will vote for the head of the bloc, Free Patriotic Movement chief Michel Aoun, in the fifth round of the presidential elections despite an expected final decision by al-Mustaqbal movement not to back his candidacy.

An Nahar newspaper said Monday that the MPs, who have boycotted the previous rounds of the polls, will head to parliament on Thursday and vote for Aoun to avoid the criticism of paralyzing the elections and causing a vacuum at Baabda Palace.

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi has on several occasions called on lawmakers to exercise their right to vote for a head of state by May 25, when President Michel Suleiman’s six-year term expires.

The vote for Aoun would be seen as a sign of protest to the candidacy of March 14 alliance’s sole nominee Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea.

The MPs of the March 8 alliance, including the Change and Reform bloc, had been so far claiming that their boycott of the elections was the result of lack of an agreement on a consensual president.

Aoun had been repeatedly claiming that he would not announce his candidacy against his rival Geagea if there was no consensus on him.

But al-Mustaqbal movement is on the verge of making its stance official by not approving such a candidacy, highly-informed sources told As Safir newspaper.

This stance would push towards withdrawing Geagea’s candidacy to open discussions on another choice to fill the country’s top Christian post, they said.

Al-Akhbar newspaper, however, quoted Aoun’s visitors as saying that he is in continuous contact with al-Mustaqbal movement leader ex-PM Saad Hariri.

Hariri has informed Aoun that he is “exerting efforts to convince Saudi Arabia to elect him as president,” they said.


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