Presidential battle begins: Bkerki aims for 65 votes in first round

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2023-06-10 | 00:41
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Presidential battle begins: Bkerki aims for 65 votes in first round
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6min
Presidential battle begins: Bkerki aims for 65 votes in first round

It turned out that the dialogue that was supposed to be led by Bkerki regarding the presidential file is nothing more than a public relations campaign with the slogan of endorsing the former minister, Jihad Azour.  

This article was originally published in and translated from the Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar. 
 
It is not limited to general talks about a Christian majority that wanted him as president but is accompanied by intense activity from the forces that nominated him, led by Bkerki itself, to secure 65 votes for him in the first round on the basis with the availability of "one and a half" majority votes in his favor, and there will no longer be any importance in obstructing the quorum in the second round, and the battle to confirm him as president will begin. 

After Speaker Nabih Berri confirmed the session on time, no new external signals reached Beirut, except for mediations carried out by an Arab state under "opening a gap in the wall of silence" between the main parties.  

Meanwhile, Azour's team relies on obtaining 65 votes in the first round or a significant difference in his favor compared to Frangieh to modify the positions of foreign countries concerned with the presidential file under the weight of Christian consensus. 

Meanwhile, it is expected that the French ambassador, Anne Grillo, will return to Beirut in a few hours, as her office has requested meetings with several officials to inform them about the background of President Emmanuel Macron's decision to appoint former Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian as a Personal Envoy to Lebanon. It is not known whether the latter will visit Beirut soon. 

Until Friday evening, Maronite Patriarch, Mar Bechara Boutros al-Rahi, had personally communicated with several Christian deputies who were hesitant to convince them that voting for Azour would be a vote for Bkerki.  

At the same time, the leadership of the Free Patriotic Movement continued to work with the "objecting" deputies to change their minds, as well as with the Tashnag Party bloc, which has not yet declared a final position. 

It is known that the contacts and pressures exerted by Azour's supporters and former Minister Sleiman Frangieh focus on the deputies standing in the middle to gather votes in the first round, as everyone acts with a high probability that the quorum of the second round will be obstructed. Thus, postponing the elections to another date that may not be determined at the end of the session itself. 

Meanwhile, the sources of the [Shiite] duo supporting Frangieh say that the "session is ongoing" and confirmed their right to use the right to obstruct the session and break the quorum to prevent Azour from assuming the presidency, according to al-Akhbar. 

They pointed out that "the battle is a battle of points, not an election battle." Visitors to Berri quoted him as expressing "great regret for turning the presidential crisis into a sectarian crisis, which it is not." 

Regarding the meeting that brought him together with Archbishop Paul Abdel Sater, the head of the Maronite Archdiocese in Beirut, and the Bishop of the Maronite Catholic Eparchy of Sidon, Maroun Ammar, as envoys of al-Rahi, sources at Ain el-Tineh told al-Akhbar that "the bishops conveyed a message from al-Rahi confirming the need for dialogue among everyone, emphasizing not to clash with Christian consensus." 
 
Berri confirmed that "the duo will vote for Frangieh in the next session and "let the democratic game take its course," expressing great displeasure with the sectarian language used by some for personal political purposes." 

As for the Change MPs, three of them have decided to vote for Azour. They were part of the Christian intersection between the Lebanese Forces, the Kataeb Party, and the Free Patriotic Movement, along with others.  

They are Mark Daou, Michel Douaihy, and Waddah Sadek. On the other hand, MP Halime El Kaakour confirmed her refusal to enter into any settlements. 

In parallel with the efforts of some independent deputies to form an alliance that would vote for former Minister Ziyad Baroud as a third option, a meeting was held between some of them and Baroud.  
Others called Azour, who is currently in the United States, and it is rumored that he will soon come to Beirut.  

It was understood that "influential parties" are working with MP Paula Yacoubian to persuade her to work on attracting at least three deputies who are hesitant to vote in favor of Azour, especially MP Firas Hamdan, under the title that all Druze deputies stand with Azour against the Amal Movement and Hezbollah. 
 
Hamdan's own opinion could not be determined. MPs Ibrahim Mneimneh, Melhem Khalaf, and Najat Saliba decided to hold further consultations before making their final decision. 
 

Lebanon News

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Lebanon

Bkerki

Jihad Azour

Presidency

Lebanese

Politics

Sleiman Frangieh

Presidential File

Maronite Patriarch

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