The Free Patriotic Movement has reportedly finally realized that Hezbollah has been misleading it all along and that Speaker Nabih Berri’s rejection of the presidential bid of FPM founder MP Michel Aoun reflects Hezbollah’s real stance despite the party’s declared support for Aoun’s bid, al-Joumhouria newspaper quoted FPM sources as saying in remarks published Sunday.
“Berri has informed ex-PM Saad Hariri of his total rejection of the election of General Michel Aoun as president, expressing fears and concern, and this is what he has also informed PSP leader MP Walid Jumblatt of,” the report said
“Berri’s rejection reflects Hezbollah’s rejection, despite the party’s public stances on supporting his nomination, ,” the sources added.
The Lebanese parliament failed again on September 28th and for the 45th 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 MP Michel Aoun’s Change and Reform bloc MPs boycotted the session, because they could not reportedly guarantee Aoun’s election as a president.
Amal Movement leader, Speaker Nabih Berri a key ally of Hezbollah postponed the election to October 31st.
Most of the attendees were from the March 14 coalition.
Aoun and Marada Movement leader MP Suleiman Frangieh are the 2 main candidates for president and both are key members of the Hezbollah-led March 8 alliance
Aoun is backed by Hezbollah and the Lebanese Forces, while Frangieh is mainly supported by the Future Movement, the Amal Movement and the Progressive Socialist Party.
Both Hezbollah and the LF have reportedly attempted to convince Future Movement leader Saad Hariri to relinquish support for Frangieh and instead endorse Aoun, which they say is the only way to end the presidential vacancy.
Since his arrival to Beirut , Hariri has kicked off a series of consultations with top leaders in a bid to end the presidential vacuum, but has not declared any change in his choice for candidate.
“It is clear that the only political man who is making the initiative to elect a president is Prime Minister Saad Hariri,” State Minister Nabil de Freij told reporters from Nejmeh Square last Wednesday .
De Freij, who belongs to the Future Movement, added that his party will not change its stance over Frangieh without first consulting with him.
Franjieh won’t withdraw
Franjieh told Hariri during their latest meeting that he will not withdraw from the presidential race in favor of Aoun and that he would only make such a move if there is an agreement on a third candidate, a media report said on Sunday.
“Franjieh reminded Hariri that they had agreed that he would only withdraw from the presidential race in favor of a third candidate and not in favor of Aoun,” al-Joumhouria newspaper quoted informed sources as saying.
“We have built confidence between us but we have not agreed on my withdrawal. Anyway I must warn you that should you agree with Aoun, you will face a situation similar to the one that then-president Amin Gemayel faced in 1988 when he appointed Aoun as premier,” the daily quoted Franjieh as telling Hariri during the meeting.