Monday,April 02,2007

D4G48206.jpgFree Patriotic Movement Leader Michael Aoun has said the forthcoming Presidential elections in Lebanon will not be held according to the constitutional schedule.
Aoun made the remark in an interview screened Saturday evening by the NBN television network, an outlet advocating the Hizbullah-led opposition.

In answering a question as to whether early presidential elections to choose a successor to President Emile Lahoud before his extended term expires next Nov. 22 was possible, Aoun said:

"I don’t think so. And I believe that the presidential elections would not be held on schedule. Does the stealing of Parliamentary seats set the stage for them to steal the presidency?"

"Let them know that the (presidential) elections will only be held in line with an understanding that returns what has been stolen to its owners," Aoun added.

Aoun accuses the March 14 Parliamentary majority of Fraud in the 2005 general elections.

Aoun is allied with the March 8 coalition that groups Hizbullah and other pro-Syrian factions which have been trying in vain to topple Premier Fouad Saniora’s majority government.

Meanwhile, Hizbullah Warned Sunday that any attempt by the majority to convene a parliamentary session outside the house compound would be a "leap into the unknown and an escalation leading to non-benign repercussions."

The threat was made by Hizbullah MP Hussein Hajj Hassan at a news conference in the Beqaa valley town of Baalbek.

Hajj Hassan was responding to reports that legislators representing the March 14 Parliamentary majority might convene a session of the house at an undisclosed venue to deliberate and ratify a bill creating the international tribunal that would try suspects in the 2005 assassination of ex-Premier Rafik Hariri and related crimes.

House Speaker Nabih Berri also heads the AMAL movement which is part of the Hizbullah-led opposition that has been trying since Dec. 1 to topple the Saniora government which had prepared and endorsed the international tribunal bill.
The opposition wants amendments to the bill, details of which have not been officially disclosed. And Berri aides at Parliament have refused to accept text of the bill as referred by the Saniora government, claiming the cabinet is "illegitimate" because six opposition ministers have resigned.

The international community and the Arab League, however, term the Saniora cabinet "the legitimate" government of Lebanon.

Hajj Hassan said any meeting convened by the ruling majority outside the house headquarters is a mere political meeting by a parliamentary bloc that bears no legal or constitutional significance."

Hajj Hassan’s statement followed mounting differences between the pro-Syrian opposition and the parliamentary majority over the international tribunal after the Arab summit held at the Saudi Capital of Riyadh last week.

The summit declared support for the tribunal.