BEIRUT — Hezbollah Deputy Secretary-General Naim Qassem said on Sunday that it remains a priority for Hezbollah to have a government formed before the presidential elections, “even if there are a few days left to do so,” during a speech in Nabatieh, South Lebanon.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun urged Friday for the election of his successor, which should be a "top priority," as the presence of a sitting president is "fundamental for the formation of a new government," less than a month before the end of his presidential term on Oct. 31.
Aoun had prioritized forming a cabinet before the presidential deadline, but in a Friday statement stressed the necessity of electing a president ahead of the Oct. 31 deadline. Still, governmental negotiations have stalled, notably because of differences between Aoun and Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati.
Qassem said there are two presidents who could possibly lead Lebanon either a “defiant president who wants to confront and impose his vision that intersects with America and sabotages Lebanon, and there is a president who has a national vision that is open and flexible and addresses issues through dialogue and is not dictated by foreigners,” he said.
The Parliament is scheduled to meet on Oct. 13, in its second session to elect a president. During the first session, although a quorum was initially reached, more than half of the ballots were protest votes, while MPs later left the session, which resulted in a failure to meet the quorum.
In his speech, Qassem also addressed maritime negotiations with Israel. On Thursday, Israel rejected Beirut's amendments to the draft agreement proposed by the US mediator Amos Hochstein.
The Israeli rejection was leaked to the press and Lebanese officials claimed they haven't received any official notice about it. But on Sunday evening, the Lebanese Presidency's Twitter account announced that a new version of the proposal, which includes additional "remarks" will be sent by mediator Hochstein to Lebanon "in the coming hours."
Qassem concluded that through the positions and results delivered by Hochstein, a final solution will be announced, and “not through media propaganda," he said. "So we will wait for the results.”