Beirut - The streets of Beirut are already filled with posters and pictures with the image of former General Michel Aoun, the leader of the Free Patriotic Movement who is preparing to become the new President of the Lebanese Republic. Except improbable last-minute surprises, the Parliament will elect Aoun as new Head of State for the election of the President, scheduled on Monday, October 31 at 11 am local time. "Preparations - reported to Agenzia Fides, Maronite priest Rouphael Zgheib, national director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Lebanon - are also underway at the Baabda, the Presidential Palace, which is preparing to receive its new tenant and preparing to accommodate even the media around the world for the beginning of a new presidential term.
The only mystery is related to the consensus around Aoun. We must see if he is elected during the first ballot, when two-thirds of the votes in favor are needed, or in the second round, when simply an absolute majority would be enough".
The announced election of Aoun will put an end to more than two and a half years of presidential vacatio, due to vetoes and mutual boycotts of alliances that dominated the Lebanese political scene. The end of the paralysis is due to the cross convergence around the candidature of Aoun of the most influential Maronite, Shiite and Sunni Parties. The leader of the Free Patriotic Movement, the main Maronite party, will be supported by Maronite former rivals of the Lebanese Forces, from the Hezbollah Shiite and Sunni "Future" Party, led by Saad Hariri.
The support agreed by "Future" to the former political enemy Aoun has shifted the balance of power, opening the way to the end of Lebanon's institutional paralysis. The minor parties that oppose the "great compromise" remain, such as the Shiite Amal formation and the Maronites of Marada,.
The delicate Lebanese political system provides that the appointment of the Head of State is to be occupied by a Maronite Christian. At a geopolitical level, the imminent election of Aoun is read as a sign of diminished influence of Saudi Arabia in the Middle East.
Yesterday evening, on the occasion of a reception held at the Casino du Liban by the Catholic Information Center, Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rai expressed his congratulations for the upcoming election of a "strong President". The Primate of the Maronite Church had words of praise for former premier Saad Hariri, stressing that the choice made by the "Future" Party leader saved Lebanon from the risk of falling into an abyss. "The Patriarch" explains to Fides father Rouphael Zgheib "has always insisted on the urgency of ending the presidential vacuum, in order to allow all institutions to resume work as envisaged by the Constitution". >>