Franjieh: We Extended Parliament Term to Avoid Civil War, We Reject Extending Suleiman's Term

Marada Movement leader MP Suleiman Franjieh on Friday said parliament extended its own term in order to “avoid civil war.”

“I believe that we have not extended parliament's term. We are extending to avoid civil war and to prevent turning the political dispute into a military conflict, God forbid,” Franjieh said after leaving the parliament session that extended the legislature's mandate until November 20, 2014.

He added: "We're against extending the term of the president (Michel Suleiman) because we are against this president."

Asked about his relation with his ally, Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun, Franjieh said: "We are one team, now and yesterday and everyday, but we have different viewpoints over these sessions."

"Some in the FPM believe that this is a juncture, and that the defeated would congratulate the winner, and we believe that things in Lebanon have always been part of a Lebanese-regional-international agreement, and nowadays we're seeing (U.S. President Barack) Obama telephoning the president and the U.S. ambassador visiting the officials and all countries in the world interfering in this juncture,” Franjieh added.

“What would this juncture cause if it led to the victory of a camp over another?” he went on to say.

"We are saying 'let's postpone the problem', because for the first time since many years, elections will define Lebanon's strategic course and will define if Lebanon is with or against the resistance or if it is with or against Arabism," Franjieh added.

Asked about the challenges that will be filed against the extension before the Constitutional Council, Franjieh said: "Should the challenge be accepted, that will mean that the legitimacy of the Taef Accord will be questioned, because it was approved by a parliament that extended its term several times.”

The parliament on Friday voted to extend its own mandate for 17 months after the rival political parties failed to reach a new electoral law.

Around 100 MPs from all blocs, except the Change and Reform bloc, voted to extend parliament's term until November 20, 2014, in a session that lasted only 10 minutes.

The motion to extend the normal four-year term was due to "the security situation in several Lebanese regions that gives rise to political escalation and division which often take on confessional forms."

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