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Aoun’s Opponents Gather to Curb His Enthusiasm… Hezbollah Busy Pleasing Berri | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Aoun met with Nasrallah on Sunday/NNA

Beirut: Opponents of the Change and Reform leader General Michel Aoun have accepted the fact they are incapable to affect the outcome of the October 31 parliamentary session during which a president would be elected.

However, those opponents have decided to gather with an aim to curb Aoun’s enthusiasm and send a series of messages to those supporting his candidacy, mainly head of the Future Movement MP Saad Hariri, who has resolved the presidential elections by announcing last week he supported the candidacy of Aoun, Hezbollah’s ally.

Telecommunications Minister Butros Harb said that they would not surrender to the idea of an already settled parliamentary session next Monday.

Harb, a prominent Christian independent leader, told Ahsarq Al-Awsat newspaper that the ballot box carrying the votes of MPs might bring some surprises, which could switch the current data.

According to some information, there are efforts exerted to convince all Aoun’s opponents to vote for his rival, Suleiman Franjieh.

According to Lebanon’s Constitution, a quorum of 86 MPs is needed for the parliamentary session to elect a president. The candidates should receive at least 86 votes in the first round of elections to become president and only the majority of votes in the second round.

Director of Statistics Lebanon Rabih Haber said: “The presidential race is now in favor of Aoun, particularly after Hariri had endorsed his candidacy last week.”

Haber told Asharq Al-Awsat that Aoun now has 76 votes and there are still 30 MPs who have not yet decided whether they would vote for him. But Haber said there is a big chance that part of those MPs would end up supporting Aoun.

“Therefore, if Aoun does not win during the first round by securing 86 votes, he would surely win in the second round,” Haber said.

While observers expected that Secretary General of the so-called Hezbollah party Hassan Nasrallah calls for a meeting of March 8 forces to ease tension among the group’s members, particularly after Speaker Nabih Berri’s insistence to object Aoun’s candidacy, a meeting was held on Sunday evening between Aoun and Nasrallah.

“We came to thank Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah for helping us solve the intractable problem in electing a president and for giving all the facilities to resolve this issue. Thank God, we have reached a happy ending,” Aoun said after sitting with Nasrallah.

It seems clear that the so-called Hezbollah is now busy with pleasing their ally Berri, who is discontent with the latest political developments.

Member of Loyalty to Resistance parliamentary bloc, Nawaf Moussawi, said that his party sticks to Berri as head of the parliament, whose role “is not limited to the legislative body, but to the construction of constitutional and national institutions.”