Optimism grows for electing the President after opposition, FPM agreement

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2023-06-04 | 00:28
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Optimism grows for electing the President after opposition, FPM agreement
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5min
Optimism grows for electing the President after opposition, FPM agreement

Following the agreement between the opposition and the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) on the nomination of former Minister Jihad Azour, all eyes are now turned towards Ain El-Tineh, speculating whether Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri will call for a session to elect the President or wait for Marada Movement's leader Sleiman Frangieh to officially announce his candidacy, as reported by Berri recently. 

This article was originally published in and translated from the Lebanese newspaper Al-Anbaa. 

In this context, political sources familiar with the recent developments told Al-Anbaa that it anticipated an intensification of communication related to the presidential election, which may occur on two fronts.  

The first front revolves around Bkerki and the communication that Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Bechara Boutros al-Rahi will engage with Speaker Berri to discuss setting a date for the election session, or  Archbishop Antoine Abi Najem might be sent by the Patriarch to meet with the Speaker of Parliament to discuss the scheduling of the election session.  

The second front stems from the personal communication that Minister Azour might conduct with the parliamentary blocs, which is expected to start soon. 

While the sources ruled out the possibility of Berri setting a date for the session and allowing the "Shiite Duo" deputies to manipulate the quorum, as this approach is no longer acceptable, they also predicted that Frangieh would soon announce his candidacy if he sensed Berri's intention to schedule the election session to compete, especially since neither Frangieh nor Azour are sure of obtaining 65 votes in the first session, according to Al-Anbaa.

Simultaneously, Member of Parliament Adib Abdel Massih described the atmosphere as positive following the Free Patriotic Movement's decision to endorse Minister Azour after a lengthy standoff.

He told Al-Anbaa that the battle had shifted to within the Parliament. Therefore the total number of votes Azour might garner compared to his competitor Frangieh, who will receive the votes of the entire "resistance" axis, expecting that the votes that Azour will receive in the first session range between 60 to 67 votes.
  
Azour might secure the support of 5 or 6 deputies out of 13 from the "Change" MPs and four or five deputies from the independents. 

According to Abdel Massih, "the reliance remains on the Democratic Gathering deputies, while the position of the National Moderation deputies remains uncertain."

He expected Berri to schedule the election session within the next two weeks, especially as "we approach the appointment of a governor for the Central Bank of Lebanon after Riad Salameh's term ends."

Abdel Massih believed that there was no reason to prevent a meeting between al-Rahi and Berri, emphasizing that after the opposition's agreement with the Free Patriotic Movement, he became more optimistic about electing the President.  

When asked whether he expected Gebran Bassil to betray them in favor of Hezbollah, he asked: "What would Bassil gain from that? Will he vote for Frangieh?" 

Abdel Massih concluded by saying, "Bassil knows for certain that if Frangieh becomes President, his political future will come to an end. Therefore, the leader of the FPM will not commit political suicide."  

He expected Azour to begin his communications with the deputies soon, within limits allowed by his position at the International Monetary Fund.  

He ruled out any Arab intervention before the election of a President, as the Arab community is keen not to express any support for a candidate before the election session and prefers to remain neutral until the results are announced. 

Therefore, the unity of the opposition and the agreement with the FPM has placed the presidential election at a critical juncture, awaiting the date of the upcoming election session.  

However, caution remains crucial in case of any presidential surprises. Thus, the necessary step is to unify intentions to elect a president and save the sectors facing the specter of collapse today more than ever.
 

Lebanon News

Press Highlights

Lebanon

Presidency

Election

Agreement

Opposition

Free Patriotic Movement (FPM)

Jihad Azour

Nabih Berri

Sleiman Frangieh

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