Marada Movement chief MP Suleiman Franjieh said on Sunday that he would only pull out of his presidential bid if Former Lebanese PM and Future Movement leader MP Saad Hariri decides to back Change and Reform bloc chief MP Michel Aoun’s nomination.
“When Hariri decides to back General Aoun, I will withdraw my nomination,” said Franjieh in remarks to NBN television.
“I will not concede to Aoun unless the possibility of him winning the presidency becomes guaranteed,” he added, stressing that he is not willing to risk losing his own nomination.
As for the Paris meeting between him and Hariri, Franjieh revealed that he had told Hezbollah that he would “tear up” any paper of understanding between him and Hariri should Hezbollah reject it.
“Hariri asked me about Hezbollah’s weapons and I told him that ‘there is no need to discuss this issue’,” al-Jadeed television quoted Franjieh as telling reporters.
“Hariri did not propose that he become prime minister during the Paris meeting,” Franjieh noted.
He also revealed that Culture Minister Rony Araiji of the Marada Movement had written down “minutes of meeting” during the Paris talks.
Separately, Franjieh emphasized that he would not attend any electoral session boycotted by Hezbollah.
His remarks come two days after Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah announced that his party is not willing to give up its support for Aoun in favor of Franjieh.
“We have an ethical and political commitment to support General Aoun’s nomination,” said Nasrallah.
“Even if another dear friend is nominated, it will not push me to renounce my ethical commitment to General Aoun, and this does not mean that Franjieh does not deserve to become president,” Nasrallah added.
In a related development Hariri said Sunday that he will officially announce the nomination of Franjieh for the presidential post during the February 14 commemoration ceremony expected to be held at BIEL, Ad-Diyar daily reported on Sunday.
Hariri’s initiative surfaced late last year when he suggested the nomination of Franjieh of March 8 for the presidency. But the nomination has not been officially declared yet.
Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea who was the candidate of March 14 was upset about Hariri’s initiative and endorsed instead the nomination of Aoun his long time rival.
February 14 marks the commemoration of the assassination of Saad’s dad former PM Rafik Hariri who was killed in a massive bombing in Beirut on February 14, 2005 .
5 Hezbollah operatives were indicted in Hariri’s assassination and are being tried in absentia by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. Hezbollah refused to hand over the 5 suspects to the UN backed court.
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