A Hezbollah official said Sunday that the party’s presidential candidate was clear even if he remained unidentified, blaming March 14 coalition for the presidential void.
“Our stance is clear and settled over our presidential candidate, let everyone know that no pressures or intimidations can change our presidential stance,” Hezbollah official Sheikh Nabil Qaouk said during a party ceremony.
“Our presidential candidate is obvious, and they know him without us naming him, that’s what clearness is.”
He also said that the March 14 coalition still hadn’t settled on its “real presidential candidate” and was only maneuvering in naming Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea as its candidate, causing the presidential void.
“The presidential election is a national obligation and we do not want void or vacuum, but the problem is that the March 14 coalition still hasn’t settled their real candidate,” he said.
“[March 14] adopted the strategy of wasting time. … They resorted to electoral maneuvers, and the result was that the nation paid the price.”
Hezbollah calls for speedy election
Meanwhile, Hezbollah officials called Sunday for a speedy presidential election and said that the void in the country’s top post should not persist.
“No one can downplay the significance of presidential void, a state without a president is missing and we should elect a president as soon as possible,” Industry Minister Hussein Hajj Hasan said, according to the Daily Star.
“We should all work together to shorten the period of presidential void,” he said. “There is only one way to facilitate holding the election, and it is consensus.”
The minister also said that “the work of state institutions must go on as not to add to the suffering of citizens and to limit the repercussions of the presidential void.”
Hezbollah MP Hasan Fadlallah said that all the political forces should work together to hold the presidential election “as soon as possible.”
“We want the presidential election to be held as soon as possible and this requires the cooperation among all political forces,” he said.
“We hope that no party in Lebanon is wasting time awaiting regional changes because all the changes going on around us are going for the interest of the political choice we believe in,” he said. “We call on everyone for adopting our political choice because it is the option that secures stability and security for our country.”
Although giving the impression of supporting Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun for the presidential bid, Hezbollah has not endorsed its Christian ally for the election. Aoun himself also has not officially announced his candidacy.
Lebanon stepped into a presidential void last week with the end of the six-year term of former President Michel Sleiman. Speaker Nabih Berri has called for a new session to elect a new head of state on June 9 but the vote is likely to fail, as the five prior attempts did, in the absence of a consensus between political rivals on a mutual candidate.
Previous parliamentary sessions for the presidential election were boycotted by Hezbollah and its ally, MP Michel Aoun’s FPM.