Franjieh Meets al-Rahi, Vows to Stay in Presidential Race

Marada Movement chief MP Suleiman Franjieh held talks Wednesday in Diman with Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi and stressed that he will maintain his presidential nomination.

After a 45-minute closed-door meeting, Franjieh and al-Rahi continued their talks over a lunch banquet, state-run National News Agency said.

“The atmosphere was excellent,” Franjieh told reporters after the talks.

“The meeting with His Eminence is normal prior to the upcoming electoral session and we discussed the current developments in the country,” he added.

And in response to a question, the Marada leader emphasized that he will stay in the presidential race although the chances of his electoral rival MP Michel Aoun seem to be much higher.

Aoun was tipped to become president after al-Mustaqbal Movement leader ex-PM Saad Hariri formally endorsed him on Thursday.

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 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 nomination 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.

Copyright © 2012 All Rights Reserved.