Marada chief Suleiman Franjieh appeared like an odd choice for former PM Saad Hariri. Franjieh is a key member of the March 8 alliance , a former interior minister with family ties to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his father Hafez dating back to the 1950s.
Hariri , who has has been highly critical of Assad’s conduct during Syria’s civil war views the Syrian government as responsible for the assassination of his father, Rafik, in central Beirut in 2005. The killing sent shockwaves through Lebanon and eventually led to the end of three decades of Syrian occupation.
Divisions both between and within the March 8 and March 14 blocs have increasingly emerged as a result of Syria’s civil war and Hezbollah’s military intervention in support of Assad.
“What united March 14 was its stance against Syria. If Hariri went with Franjieh then this would constitute a betrayal of this principle,” Sami Nader, an economics and politics professor at Beirut’s St Joseph University was quoted as saying .
But Hariri’s initiative which calls for nominating Franjieh as the presidential candidate has exposed Hezbollah’s intentions with regards to the presidency.
Even though Hezbollah keeps reiterating that the Change and reform bloc leader MP Michel Aoun continues to be its candidate the party has done nothing to get him elected . Not one time has the party attended any of the parliament election sessions (after Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea secured 48 votes in the first session) to nominate Aoun.
Franjieh, whose ties to Hezbollah are much older, may be a preferable choice for the group as Hezbollah wages war in Syria in support of Assad.
Franjieh realizes that Aoun has no chance to be elected and for this reason he said that Hezbollah has plan B if Aoun does not get elected
According to analysts Hezbollah does not want at this stage any president in Lebanon and is using Aoun now like it did in 2007 strictly to obstruct the election of a president.
Hezbollah according to the observers wants to continue to use Aoun to get a Christian cover for its Syria role and wait till the Syrian war is over before making a decision on the presidency .
The observers concluded that for the foreseeable time Hezbollah wants Aoun for obstruction not president.