Saniora: Mustaqbal MPs Rejecting Aoun's Nomination Dropping to Five

Head of al-Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc MP Fouad Saniora said that the number of bloc MPs rejecting the nomination of founder of the Free Patriotic Movement MP Michel Aoun for the post of president is dropping, al-Akhbar daily reported on Monday.

“We were counting on a larger number of opposition in the Mustaqbal bloc, but the number has dropped to five deputies,” unnamed sources quoted Saniora as saying.

“The number of Mustaqbal deputies who reject the nomination of Aoun for the presidential post is limited to not more than five MPs,” Mustaqbal parliamentary sources told the daily.

“Reports alleging that the number of MPs rejecting the election of Aoun is increasing are unfounded. The opposition is still limited to four or five deputies who have openly declared their position” to head of al-Mustaqbal Movement Saad Hariri added the sources.

“The rest of the deputies are going to vote in favor of Aoun,” they said.

Saniora, Mustaqbal MPs Ahmed Fatfat, Ammar Houri and Mohammed Qabbani announced Thursday that they would not vote for Free Patriotic Movement founder MP Michel Aoun in any presidential election session, shortly after Aoun was formally endorsed by ex-PM Saad Hariri.

Lebanon has been without a president since the term of Michel Suleiman ended in May 2014 and Hizbullah, Aoun's Change and Reform bloc and some of their allies have been boycotting the parliament's electoral sessions, stripping them of the needed quorum.

Hariri had launched an initiative in late 2015 to nominate Hizbullah's ally MP Suleiman Franjieh for the presidency but his proposal was met with reservations from the country's main Christian parties as well as Hizbullah.

The supporters of Aoun's presidential bid have argued that he is more eligible than Franjieh to become president due to the size of his parliamentary bloc and his bigger influence in the Christian community.

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