'Surprise' candidate expected in Thursday session as breakthrough ruled out

As several Free Patriotic Movement lawmakers announced that their parliamentary bloc will not cast blank votes in Thursday’s presidential election session, an independent MP told ad-Diyar newspaper that a “surprise” candidate will be voted for in the session.

Sources close to Hezbollah meanwhile told Asharq al-Awsat daily that they rule out any breakthrough in the presidential file before the end of the year, seeing as “things are linked to domestic and foreign circumstances.”

The sources added that Hezbollah is seeking an agreement over Marada Movement chief Suleiman Franjieh’s nomination with each of Free Patriotic Movement leader Jebran Bassil, Progressive Socialist Party chief Walid Jumblat and a number of Sunni MPs.

Sources informed on the presidential file meanwhile told al-Joumhouria newspaper that “the regional-international situation is not appropriate for the election of a president at the current moment.”

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