Lebanon’s NOW Media on Sunday conveyed statements by a top figure from the anti-Hezbollah March 14 bloc, Assem Araji, worrying that political maneuvering by Hezbollah would lock in a political vacuum at that country’s presidential level over the medium term, after the Iran-backed group and its allies last week managed to stymie a third attempted vote to fill the vacant seat:
“Vacuum in the presidency of the republic will take place and for a few months,” Araji told Al-Anbaa newspaper in comments published on Sunday.
He accused the opposing March 8 coalition, especially Hezbollah, of disrupting the election of a new head of state by “falsely putting [Change and Reform bloc leader MP Michel Aoun] in the forefront [as a potential candidate]…in order to reach the [election] of a consensus president who does not represent anyone.”
Kataeb Party leader Amin Gemayel had warned last week that “not electing a president prior to May 25 is a dangerous thing,” after Lebanese President Michel Suleiman blasted the Hezbollah-allied March 8 for endangering “the continuity of the [Lebanese] entity” by preventing moves aimed at bolstering political stability.
Nawwaf al-Moussawi, a member of parliament from Hezbollah’s Loyalty to the Resistance bloc, declared on Sunday that any presidential candidate would have to support “the resistance,” a euphemism for Hezbollah’s military activities and its heavily armed state-within-a-state across Lebanon:
“It is natural that any presidential candidate would be in accord with the resistance, without which the [Lebanese] land and people would not have been liberated,” Moussawi said during a celebration on Sunday.
He also said that “any presidential candidate must include in his political platform a plan to free what remains of occupied Lebanese territory, to preserve the country’s natural resources, and to defend Lebanon against aggression and Israeli threats.”
It is difficult to align the organization’s stance on Lebanese elections with assertions – which for decades found supporters in corners of the Western foreign policy establishment – that Hezbollah is an indigenous Lebanese organization working to bolster Lebanese institutions.
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