Chamoun Turns over New Leaf of Relations with President Aoun

Leader of the National Liberals Party Dory Chamoun said that his disagreements with President Michel Aoun are over now that the latter has become president of Lebanon, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Friday.

“Since I arrived at the entrance of the Baabda Palace, it means that the page has been turned on the disagreement with Aoun and I am dealing with him as president of the republic. We have thrown away all previous controversies,” said Chamoun as he stressed that a “believer puts away all the differences the moment he enters the church or mosque to pray, and the Baabda Palace represents a symbol for Lebanon and head of the republic.”

The MP went on to say: “I am the son of (late) President Camille Chamoun who put himself at the disposal of the president the moment he was elected in spite of the political differences. The school of Camille Chamoun has taught us to support the Maronite president, and to stand by his side so he can rule and draw power. I have visited Baabda Palace and I have put myself at the disposal of president Aoun.”

On his previous statement and verbal attacks against Aoun when he was still a candidate, Chamoun said: “That was before he was elected. Now we support the president.”

In September, Chamoun had lashed out at Aoun, who was running for the presidential post, and asked him to release health records to prove that he is eligible to become president at the physical and mental levels.

On Monday, Aoun was elected as Lebanon’s 13th president which ended around two and a half years of presidential and political vacuum.

On Thursday, Hariri was formally tasked with forming a new government after he received a sweeping majority of 112 votes in the binding parliamentary consultations.

Hariri’s key support had contributed to the election of Aoun who also received crucial support from Hizbullah and the Lebanese Forces.

Hariri’s nomination and Aoun’s election have raised hopes that Lebanon can begin tackling challenges including a stagnant economy, a moribund political class and the influx of more than a million Syrian refugees.

In a sign that Hariri’s task ahead might not be easy, Hizbullah’s MPs declined to endorse him for the prime minister post, even though his nomination was all-but-assured.

Hariri is likely to struggle with his government’s policy statement, which will have to make reference to Israel, as well as the war in Syria, both potential flashpoints with Hizbullah.

The process of forming a government could take months, with horsetrading likely to revolve around the distribution of key posts like the interior, defense and energy ministries.