Hezbollah party in Lebanon is maneuvering around the country’s presidential crisis, one time resorting to tactics of threats, and another to calling for dialogue to agree on a candidate for the top state post.
Hezbollah deputies and officials have not shunned away from addressing this major entitlement in their statements now that the opposition has named former minister Jihad Azour as their candidate for the post, facing the party’s candidate, Suleiman Franjieh.
The political scene has shifted after bringing Azour forward to the forefront. The Shiite duo (Hezbollah and AMAL Movement) have shown some confusion which became evident in the latest statement of the party officials.
Hezbollah deputy leader Sheikh Naim Qassem and Hezbollah official Sheikh Nabil Qaouq have recently called for “unconditioned dialogue”, refusing to say that the party wishes to impose its own candidate.
Qassem called for “unconditioned dialogue in order to elect a president,” and for a “dialogue session without any conditions or reservations on any party or side in Lebanon in a bid to discuss the whole options publicly...in order to reach results”.
Qassem added that “no political party in Lebanon is capable of imposing its candidate this way. Don't be afraid of dialogue, in the end you will choose what you want and what you are convinced of, and we will pick what we want and what we are convinced of.”
Qaouq on the other hand, said on Wednesday that Hezbollah “has not imposed a president on anyone”, and similarly "refuses to have anything imposed on it".
“Hezbollah is not looking for shares in ministries and administrations, but wants a president who embodies national consensus to sail the salvation ship with the help of everyone”, he noted.
In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, Lebanese Forces spokesman Charles Jabbour commented on Hezbollah’s latest positions.
He said that through its rhetoric, Hezbollah is distributing roles among its officials in order to impose their own candidate (Suleiman Franjieh). “This has become impossible”, remarked Jabbour.
“There is confusion inside the party as the result of the opposition’s agreement on a single candidate”, he stated.
When Hezbollah calls for dialogue, it does so to garner agreement on its own candidate, added the LF spokesman.
Lebanon, plagued by a major economic crisis since 2019, has been without a president since the term of Michel Aoun ended in October.