Berri Adjourns Presidential Vote to Oct. 31 as Franjieh Warns Hariri over Backing Aoun

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Speaker Nabih Berri on Wednesday adjourned a presidential election session to October 31 over lack of quorum as Marada Movement chief MP Suleiman Franjieh warned al-Mustaqbal Movement leader ex-PM Saad Hariri against endorsing the presidential nomination of Free Patriotic Movement founder MP Michel Aoun.

“Should Hariri agree with Aoun and name him for the presidency, he will reap the same result as when then-president Amin Gemayel named Aoun to head the (military) government in 1988,” Franjieh tweeted after the session.

Mustaqbal bloc MP Nabil de Freij meanwhile announced that “nothing has been settled until the moment,” noting that Hariri is conducting consultations “in a bid to find a solution.”

A member of Franjieh's bloc, MP Estephan Douaihi, said the Marada leader is still carrying on with his nomination “seeing as he has characteristics that make him more able to secure national consensus,” stressing that Marada will “confront any attempt to alter the unique Lebanese formula.”

Meanwhile, Lebanese Forces bloc MP George Adwan, who held a closed-door meeting with Mustaqbal bloc chief ex-PM Fouad Saniora, announced that the Lebanese must not wait for “solutions that come from abroad.”

He also noted that Hariri's latest efforts are “essential” in the attempts to end the lengthy presidential vacuum, hoping a president will be elected soon.

A wave of speculation had preceded Wednesday's session after Hariri's return to Lebanon from a several-week foreign trip triggered a flurry of rumors and media reports that the ex-PM had finally decided to endorse Aoun for the presidency in a bid to break the deadlock.

Mustaqbal sources told al-Jadeed television on Tuesday that “nominating Aoun is one of the options but the issue needs more time and it is not a matter of one or two weeks.”

Hariri had held a meeting on Monday evening with Franjieh in Bnashii and on Wednesday he held talks with Kataeb Party chief MP Sami Gemayel. The ex-PM is expected to hold talks with several political leaders in the coming hours to explore their stances regarding the nominations.

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, who is close to Saudi Arabia, 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.

Hariri's move prompted Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea to endorse the nomination of Aoun, his long-time Christian rival, after months of political rapprochement talks between their two parties.

The supporters of Aoun's presidential bid argue 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.

Comments 2
Missing humble 28 September 2016, 17:09

Caporal is a born loser. He will never be president.

Missing humble 28 September 2016, 17:38

Most of the Tayyar founders know the psychotic mental illness of the Caporal. It is now 3 years I keep mentioning that the caporal is a mareedman.

To those who want to know : the mentally ill person is living on Leponex, Zoloft and Xanax.