Franjieh 'Not Optimistic' Hariri May Give Aoun His Votesإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Marada Movement chief MP Suleiman Franjieh on Monday ruled out that al-Mustaqbal movement leader MP Saad Hariri might grant Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun the votes of his bloc in the presidential election, saying he is “not optimistic” in this regard.
“I'm not part of the team running Aoun's electoral campaign and if his contacts with Hariri produced positive results, that would be a good thing, but I'm not optimistic that Hariri might grant Aoun his votes,” Franjieh said in an interview on MTV.
“Should General Aoun carry on with his electoral battle for a 100 years, we will continue to support him,” Franjieh stressed.
He said he would personally consider joining the race if his ally Aoun gave up his presidential bid.
Responding to accusations that the March 8 camp is blocking the election of a new president in violation of the constitution, Franjieh noted that the March 14 coalition would have acted in the same manner under the same circumstances.
He urged Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi to “publish the minutes of the Bkirki meetings so that the public opinion can know what happened.”
He was referring to the so-called Maronite summits that he had taken part in along with Aoun, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea and Kataeb Party chief Amin Gemayel.
“We agreed that when a president is elected, the other three leaders would respect him and seek to strengthen him,” Franjieh revealed.
“We agreed in Bkirki that attending or boycotting parliamentary sessions are both constitutional rights and (ex-)president Gemayel and General Aoun backed my viewpoint,” he said.
The Marada leader called for electing “a president who can pull Christians out of the state of despair and collapse.”
Franjieh's remarks come amid a flurry of political consultations in the French capital, which witnessed Sunday a meeting between Geagea and Hariri and another between Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal.
Jumblat is also expected to meet with French President Francois Hollande while Geagea is scheduled to hold talks with a number of French officials.
Speaker Nabih Berri has called for a May 22 parliamentary session to elect a new president, which will be held two days before the end of President Michel Suleiman's term.
Should quorum be secured, the session would be the fifth since April 23.
Geagea received 48 votes during the first session, falling short of the 86 votes needed to be elected president from the first round. Most of the March 8 forces boycotted the sessions that were held afterwards, forcing a lack of quorum.