BEIRUT — Deputy Parliament Speaker Elias Bou Saab (FPM/Metn) said Wednesday night that his meetings with Samir Geagea, the leader of the Lebanese Forces (LF), "have been positive" and that he "managed to find a mechanism for dialogue" with him about the Lebanese presidential election, which has been stalled for months. Bou Saab recently visited with various political parties' representatives to try to advance the negotiations.
Since the end of Michel Aoun’s mandate on Oct. 31, Lebanon has been without a president. Some 11 parliamentary election sessions held between September 2022 and January 2023 failed to elect a successor.
"My meetings with Geagea have been positive," Elias Bou Saab assured on Wednesday, during an interview with local channel LBCI.
"We managed to find a clear mechanism for dialogue, but I don't want to say anything more about it for the moment," he added.
With the respective leaders of the FPM and the LF regularly at loggerheads, Bou Saab said that “there is no trust between Geagea and Gebran Bassil." But he then stressed that "the negotiation [around a candidate] will not succeed without the LF and the opposition."
"If Michel Moawad needs my vote to be elected president, I am ready to give it to him," said the deputy speaker about the Zgharta MP, who is opposed by some opposition parties to the Hezbollah camp. Hezbollah openly supports the candidacy of another Zgharta political figure, Sleiman Frangieh. As for Joseph Aoun, the commander-in-chief of the Lebanese Army, "I can't vote for him," said Bou Saab.
Bou Saab also reacted to the recent remarks of Alain Aoun, an FPM MP from Baabda, who said that an agreement with the opponents of the Hezbollah camp was only possible around a figure of the FPM parliamentary group. "What he said does not contradict the statement of the party's political council," he said. "There is a candidate of confrontation and a candidate of the moumanaa [the camp of Hezbollah and its allies.]"
"Bassil does not want the candidate of confrontation unless we succeed in convincing Hezbollah, with a candidate accepted by all," added Saab, assuring that Bassil is not thinking of presenting himself as a candidate.