Hizbullah secretary-general’s political aide Hussein Khalil announced Thursday that Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun can be considered a “consensual” presidential candidate, describing the disagreement between the party and the movement over the extension of parliament’s term as a “minor” issue.
“Our meeting today was aimed at reiterating that the relation between Hizbullah and the FPM has surpassed the memorandum of understanding to become an ‘existential relation’,” said Khalil after meeting Aoun in Rabieh.
The talks were also attended by Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil and head of Hizbullah’s Liaison and Coordination Unit Wafiq Safa.
“The FPM and us have become one body,” Khalil added.
“We must put our hands together and close ranks in the face of the fierce storms that are lashing our country and the region in general,” he said.
Recalling recent remarks by Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, who voiced support for Aoun in the presidential race, Khalil said “what the Sayyed said about the presidency was the normal thing to say, because General Aoun represents the pinnacle of national leadership.”
“He has his own decision and he is not subordinate to a foreign agenda and he’s almost the sole leader of Christians in Lebanon and the Middle East,” the Hizbullah official explained.
Asked about the divergent stances over the issue of extending the parliament’s term, Khalil said “the issue of extension was a minor thing.”
“We don’t impose our ideas on our allies, the same as our allies do not accept to impose their will on us,” he added.
“We believe that General Aoun is the best candidate for the presidency and this is our final stance,” Khalil said, in response to another question.
“We consider General Aoun to be a consensual man and he has the characteristics of the prominent leader. He is a man of decision at the level of Lebanon and the region and we’ll defend our point of view till the end and this is our firm stance which we will not change,” Khalil added.
Last week, 95 out of 128 lawmakers voted to extend their term in office for a second time, amid a boycott by the FPM and the Kataeb Party.
Lebanon has been without a president since May when the term of Michel Suleiman ended.
A dispute between the rival March 8 and 14 camps over a compromise candidate has thwarted the election of a new president.