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Nasrallah’s Escalatory Speech Dashes Hopes of Near Presidential Election in Lebanon - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Beirut- The escalatory speech of the so-called Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah was capable to blow all hopes that were lately seen in Lebanon concerning the possibility of registering a certain breach in the presidential file during the next national dialogue sessions, expected to be held in Beirut next week.

The Presidential stalemate in Lebanon has been frozen for more than two years now.

It remains clear now that optimism expressed in the past few days by Deputy Michel Aoun’s party, the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) and the Future Movement, was not at its correct place.

A parliamentary source told Asharq Al-Awsat that Nasrallah’s speech, which prompted a quick reply from head of the Future Movement, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, have only revealed the level of dispute and the difficulty of reaching a solution between both parties in the near future, particularly in the presidential file.

The question mark placed by some Lebanese parties around the timing of the so-called Hezbollah escalatory tone, particularly few days before the dialogue sessions, were also questioned by the party’s ally, the FPM, which were prepared for the election of Deputy Michel Aoun as a new president.

FPM leading member and former minister Mario Aoun told Asharq Al-Awsat: “The content of Nasrallah’s speech is not new, however, its timing will surely reduce the level optimism we were living in the past few weeks, as the election of Aoun as a new president was awaiting the Future Movement’s internal dialogue concerning this matter.”

The FPM member added that Interior Minister Nohad Mashnouq had spoken lately about this atmosphere when he said: “The presidential elections will be held soon.”

Mario Aoun said he hopes next week’s national dialogue would constitute a chance for the possibility of electing a new president.

Meanwhile, sources from the Lebanese Forces said “the speech of Nasrallah had driven the probabilities of electing a new president to their lowest levels, not to say that it had completely vanished them.”

The sources said Nasrallah says his party supports the election of Aoun as a new president, but does nothing in this regard. First, the sources said the so-called Hezbollah is doing nothing with his ally, Suleiman Franjieh, who is still running for the presidential seat, and second the escalatory and extremist speech of Nasrallah against Saudi Arabia, which is considered one of Lebanon’s best friends, would not help pave the way for the election of Aoun.

Future Movement deputy Samir Jisr expected that the speech of Nasrallah would negatively impact next week’s national dialogue sessions. Jisr told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Instead of heading to the national dialogue with optimism, they will enter in a tensed atmosphere.”

Jisr said: “Agreeing on Aoun or any other person would not happen in one day. Until now, there are no changes that could produce an agreement regarding the election of Aoun, and we, at the Future Movmenet, are still supporting presidential candidate Suleiman Franjieh, who did not withdrew his candidacy.”
Jisr said he does not think next week’s national dialogue would be capable to produce a positive result in the presidential file.

On Friday, Nasrallah had launched an attack against Saudi Arabia, a development which prompted the reply of Hariri, who tweeted: “There are individuals who are experts in reversing facts and accusing others of their own involvement in certain practices, wars and sectarian strife.”

Hariri said: “The continued attacks against the kingdom by some parties are a black mark in the history and present of those who are seeking to spread the culture of strife and wars in the Arab world.”

He added: “He who allows his party and militants to be an Iranian tool for sedition in the Arab societies will not be able to acquit himself no matter how much he gets creative in political falsification.”