Marada Movement leader Suleiman Franjieh vigorously reaffirmed his support for Change and Reform bloc leader MP Michel Aoun’s presidential bid even if the battle goes on for a hundred years but ruled out any possibility that the March 14 alliance would allow him to reach the Baaabda palace.
I am with Aoun even if the battle goes on for a hundred years.” Franjieh told Lebanese broadcaster MTV on Monday .
“While Franjieh is still only 51 years old and relatively fit, Aoun is 81 years old and suffers from Bipolar disorder …. sometimes called manic-depressive disorder, which is associated with mood swings that range from the lows of depression to the highs of mania “, according to a Lebanese observer.
“Our battle is a battle to bring Aoun to the presidency, but I am not in charge of the battle.” Franjieh added
“My conviction is that the March 14 forces and especially Future Movement leader Saad Hariri will not vote for Aoun.” He said
He said he would personally consider joining the race if his ally Aoun gave up his presidential bid.
In response to accusations that the Hezbollah-led March 8 alliance is blocking the election of a new president in violation of the constitution, Franjieh noted that the March 14 coalition would have acted in the same manner under the same circumstances.
Franjieh’s remarks come after conflicting reports about Hariri’s position with regards to Aoun’s candidacy.
LBC reportedly misquoted Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea as saying during a press conference on Monday in Paris that former PM Hariri proposed Aoun as a “consensus candidate.”
According to the LF office Geagea did not say that Hariri proposed Aoun as a consensus candidate , instead he said ” Aoun is proposing himself as a consensus candidate so lets discuss if he could be considered a consensus candidate “.
Geagea urged Aoun to declare his candidacy and said that he will be the first to visit him and congratulate him if he is elected”, but added:
“Will he ( Aoun) relinquish his MOU with Hezbollah? This is the key issue here .”
later in the day former PM and current Future Movement bloc leader MP Fouad Siniora said that his bloc will release a statement to clarify the confusion following the meeting between Hariri and Geagea.
Siniora added: ” We will participate in Thursday’s session to elect a new president and Geagea is our only candidate.
The French capital is witnessing a flurry of political activity . On Sunday a three hour meeting was held between Geagea and Hariri and another between Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal. Jumblatt is also expected to meet with French President Francois Hollande while Geagea is scheduled to hold talks with a number of top French officials.
Speaker Nabih Berri has postponed the next election session until Thursday May 22 after the Lebanese parliament failed to elect a president to replace Michel Suleiman for the fourth time on May 15 due to the lack of quorum which resulted from a boycott by March 8 MPs.
Suleiman’s term ends on May 25 and he is reportedly against any term extension and cannot wait to get out of Baabda to start campaigning for the leadership of the Christian community.
One analyst told Ya Libnan, even Hezbollah does not want Aoun as a president but has been telling him , go get Future’s votes and will back you, knowing very well that Hariri will never consider Aoun a consensus candidate .Hezbollah according to the analysts wants army chief Jean Kahwaji (with whom the party enjoys excellent relationship) as the next president, but they are aware that their ally Aoun is dead against his candidacy .