Lebanon: Nasrallah reiterates support for Michel Aoun's presidential bid

Lebanon: Nasrallah reiterates support for Michel Aoun's presidential bid
2 min read
19 August, 2015
Hizballah leader says support for his Christian ally Michel Aoun remains strong, dismissing claims he is willing to compromise on supporting Aoun's presidential nomination
In Lebanon, presidential elections are rarely held without a deal between foreign powers [JOSEPH BARRAK/AFP/Getty]
Hassan Nasrallah, secretary-general of Hizballah, has said that his ally Michel Aoun, leader of the Free Patriotic Movement, remains a "mandatory passage" for the presidential election to take place.

Nasrallah said the phrase, contrary to what his opponents have suggested, did not imply weaker support for Aoun's presidential bid.

Nasrallah seems to have made those remarks, released in a statement by Hizballah's press office Wednesday, during a meeting with an academic delegation affiliated to Hizballah.

"There has been no change in our position. Aoun is a natural and strong candidate and has broad representation," Nasrallah said. "We will continue to support this nomination."

Comments Nasrallah made in his speech last Friday commemorating the ninth anniversary of the end of the July 2006 war, were seen by some as a sign Hizballah was relaxing its support for Aoun's presidential ambitions.
Aoun is a natural and strong candidate and has broad representation

- Hassan Nasrallah

Nasrallah's new comments also come after the Future bloc accused Hezbollah of using Aoun to paralyse the country on Tuesday.

Lebanon has been without a president for almost 15 months. As no faction commands a clear majority in parliament, Lebanon's legislature has repeatedly failed to elect a new president, requiring a pre-arranged deal over a "consensus" president.

Aoun, being part of the March 8 coalition, has been discounted by the rival March 14 alliance from such a deal, for failing to meet the consensus criteria.

Lebanon's "national interest" government, which includes ministers from rival factions including the Future Movement, Hizballah and the FPM, has also been paralysed by disputes over decision-making mechanisms, top appointments, and most recently a garbage collection crisis.

Lebanon's delicate confessional power-sharing formula under the 1989 Taif Accord put an end to the country's 17-year-long civil war. However, it has left Lebanon with a cyclical crisis of governance, with sometimes-irreconcilable policies having to coexist in mandatory coalition governments.