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franjieh L- aoun-nasrallahThe Phalange Party on Monday slammed attempts to “impose” a sole presidential candidate on the country as “political blackmail”.

“The political bureau tackled the ongoing consultations and efforts that are aimed at ending the presidential crisis and it believes that rescuing the republic from vacuum cannot happen through political blackmail or through imposing a sole candidate,” Phalange Party’s politburo said in a statement issued after its weekly meeting.

And accusing some political forces of seeking to “prolong vacuum and undermine the democratic system,” the party said the election of a president cannot happen through “offering incentives or intimidation but rather through resorting to constitutional norms and attending the electoral sessions.”

“Accordingly, the Phalange Party reiterates its clear refusal to vote for any candidate endorsing the vision of the March 8 camp,” it added.

The statement comes in response to Former PM Saad Hariri’s efforts over a possiblel settlement aimed at endorsing Free Patriotic Movement founder MP Michel Aoun for the presidency in a bid to break the impasse.

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 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 so far.

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.

Hezbollah misleading Aoun
The Free Patriotic Movement has reportedly finally realized that Hezbollah has been misleading it all along and that Speaker Nabih Berri’s rejection of Aoun’s presidential bid 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.

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