BEIRUT — Zgharta MP and presidential candidate Michel Moawad vowed on Wednesday that he, along with his supporters, "will not allow any candidate from the moumanaa [a term for the pro-Iranian axis in Lebanon] to reach the presidency."
His statement followed a meeting with Kataeb MP Sami Gemayel in Beirut.
Lebanon has been without a president for nearly six months, since the end of former president Michel Aoun's mandate on Oct. 31. Moawad, an independent MP, has been a frontrunner in Parliamentary voting sessions, supported by the Lebanese Forces and other parties opposed to Hezbollah.
However, he has not garnered sufficient votes so far to win and now faces a rival backed by Hezbollah and its allies — Marada Movement leader Sleiman Frangieh.
"We should return to the constitution that unites the Lebanese and carry out the required structural reforms," Moawad said Wednesday. "This is the real battle, and our position includes extending our hand to the solution, not to more domination, bullying and threats."
"Our position is clear. We will not allow any candidate from the moumanaa to reach the presidency," Moawad added. "The battle we are fighting is not just a presidential battle, but rather a battle to restore the state and the dignity of the Lebanese."
MP Sami Gemayel also lambasted Hezbollah's Deputy Secretary General Naim Kassem, who said Wednesday that "the choice today is between Franjieh and a [presidential] vacuum."
"It is the Lebanese who decide, and we will not allow anyone to decide who our president will be," Gemayel criticized. "We will fight this battle to the fullest extent, and we will use all available means to prevent the imposition of a new tutelage on the Lebanese."
Though favored by Hezbollah and the Amal Movement, Frangieh faces opposition of most Christian parties, including the LF, the Free Patriotic Movement and the Kataeb.