Report: Negotiaions Underway to Convince Franjieh to Withdraw from Presidential Race

Some serious efforts are underway to convince Marada chief MP Suleiman Franjieh to withdraw his nomination from the presidential race, al-Akhbar daily reported on Saturday.

The daily said that some “unnamed” parties are “testing the waters” and coordinating efforts with the Free Patriotic Movement, of presidential hopeful MP Michel Aoun, to find a way to make Franjieh withdraw his candidacy before Monday's election session.

It added that the parties mediating this solution brought the subject up with Franjieh before contacting the FPM.

Furthermore, some political figures keen on Franjieh's best interest, talked about the MP's possibility to withdraw if he becomes certain that the number of votes that he will obtain in the election session are less than the number obtained by Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea in 2014, added the daily.

Geagea received 48 votes.

Many doubt the possibility that Franjieh will not obtain this number of votes, it pointed out.

Speaker Nabih Berri has summoned lawmakers on October 31 for the vote, which will go ahead if a quorum of two-thirds is reached.

The 128-member legislature counts 127 lawmakers at the moment after one member resigned over the summer.

The successful candidate wins the vote with a majority of two-thirds in the first round, or with an absolute majority in the next rounds.

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 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.

Source: Naharnet

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