Marada Movement leader MP Suleiman Franjieh challenged his rival Free Patriotic Movement chief MP Michel Aoun and warned that he would head to parliament to attend a session for the election of a president if Aoun’s supporters resort to street protests. He also challenged Hezbollah by stressing that he would not pull out of the race, and would not abolish himself .
“If Aoun wants to change the rules of the democratic game on the presidential elections by resorting to the street, then … the option of heading to parliament for the electoral session” will be on the table, Franjieh said in remarks published on Friday.
Franjieh has been boycotting parliamentary sessions aimed at electing a president along with Aoun’s bloc and Hezbollah despite being a candidate and being backed by the Future Movement chief Saad Hariri who leads the March 14 alliance.
Aoun, on the other hand, is supported by the majority of the March 8 coalition and the Lebanese Forces that is allied with Hariri.
The Change and Reform bloc warned earlier this week that Aoun is mulling to call on his supporters to resort to street protests to press for the demand to elect him as president.
He claims that he represents the majority of Christians particularly after receiving the support of LF chief Samir Geagea.
Asked whether he preferred a centrist to reach Baabda Palace, the Marada chief said that he would back Aoun for the presidency yet he would not eliminate himself by meeting the FPM leader’s request to withdraw from the presidential race.
Franjieh told al-Joumhouria daily that Hezbollah neither asked him to withdraw in Aoun’s favor nor to remain a candidate.
“Even if Hezbollah asked me to pull out of the race, I would not do it and I would not abolish myself,” he said.
Franjieh, who is a member of the Hezbollah-led March 8 coalition, reiterated that he has not made commitments to Hariri or anyone else because of the Mustaqbal chief’s support for his candidacy.
Franjieh stressed that his election would be a victory for the March 8 alliance but not a loss for March 14.
Hezbollah does not want anyone as a president
Geagea exposed Hezbollah’s real intensions on Wednesday by stressing that the party does not want presidential elections in the current period or the election as president of its main Christian ally, Free Patriotic Movement founder MP Michel Aoun.
“At the strategic level, Hezbollah cannot coexist with a real state in Lebanon … and at the tactical level Hezbollah does not want General Aoun as president, although it cannot afford to lose him, which has pushed it to obstruct the presidential vote,” Geagea said in an interview with Russia Today (RT) TV.
“This way it does not lose Aoun and it postpones the problem indefinitely ,” Geagea added.
Parliament failed for 37th time
The Lebanese parliament failed again on March 23 and for the 37th time in a row to elect a president to replace Michel Suleiman whose term ended on May 25 , 2014.
As in the past sessions the parliament was unable to reach a quorum because the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militant group and its ally Aoun’s Change and Reform bloc MPs boycotted the session, because they could not guarantee Aoun’s election as a president
Speaker Berri a key ally of Hezbollah postponed the election to April 18, 2016.