BEIRUT — The head of the Lebanese Forces Samir Geagea on Wednesday said that his party is going to “submit a request to the United Nations to form a fact-finding committee” that would investigate the Aug. 4, 2020 port blast. Geagea’s comments came one day before the second anniversary of the port explosion.
Here’s what we know:
• Earlier today, survivors of the Aug. 4, 2020 port explosion and international organizations called on the UN Human Rights Council Wednesday, a day before the second anniversary of the blast, to enact an “independent and impartial fact-finding mission” into what they called a “tragedy of historic proportions.” The port investigation led by judge Tarek Bitar has been suspended for months due to repeated requests to remove the judge from high-ranked politicians, some of whom Bitar had summoned for the investigation.
• During a press conference, Geagea, whose name is circulating as one of the potential presidential candidates in October, said that his party would oppose the election of a head of state from the Hezbollah camp, and affirmed once again that he is "natural candidate" for the presidency.
• "There are four options for the presidential election. The first option is for the opposition, in all its fringes, to support a single candidate who has a minimal political background and a maximum desire for reform. We are currently working on this option,” The head of LF said. "The second option is the election of a candidate from March 8 (a coalition led by Hezbollah), God forbid,” Geagea also said. "The third option is the election of a consensual president to defuse the problem, but today we are not looking for someone who can defuse the problem. We are looking for a president who deals with the problem,” Geagea added.
• As for the fourth option, Geagea said: "The fourth option consists of the election of a president who is at least sovereignist and reformist, and it is the opposition groups who are capable of getting such a person to the presidency.”
• Geagea also addressed the "opposition parties, the Progressive Socialist Party, the Kataeb, the National Liberal Party, the Change bloc as well as the other independent blocs who make up according to him 67 MPs, a majority in Parliament. Geagea called on them to "sit at the table and seek an agreement to set up a coordination commission in order to come up with a single candidate.”
• The deadline for the election of a new head of state is by the end of August while the end of President Michel Aoun’s term is in October. Several names of candidates are already circulating, without anyone announcing their candidacy officially, which include the leader of the Free Patriotic Movement Gebran Bassil, the leader of the Marada, Sleiman Frangieh and the commander-in-chief of the Lebanese Army Gen. Joseph Aoun, the latter of whom Geagea expressed his support of, repeatedly.