Report: Berri-Jumblat Disfavor Aoun for Presidency, Tripartite Alliance with Franjieh Does not Exist

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Positive results with regard to the nomination of MP Michel Aoun for the presidential post are not to be expected from Speaker Nabih Berri and Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat, and a tripartite alliance with Marada Movement chief MP Suleiman Franjieh is not in the making, An Nahar daily reported on Friday.

Sources who held meetings with Berri and Jumblat earlier, said they observed “discouraging impressions” as for a suggestion to support Aoun for the presidency, the daily quoted the sources on condition of anonymity.

“Even though they (Berri and Jumblat) dealt flexibly with the motives of al-Mustaqbal Movement chief ex-PM Saad Hariri to re-float all the options (to fill the presidential vacuum) including the option of nominating Aoun,” but they do not encourage the MP for the top Christian post.

On reports that claimed that a tripartite alliance between Berri, Jumblat and Franjieh was 'in the making' to push the later for the presidential post, the sources stressed: “They (Berri and Jumblat) realize the caveats of such an alliance which would be interpreted as targeting Hariri. At the same time they do not seem in a positive position to the option of re-floating the nomination of Aoun.”

Hariri held talks Thursday evening with Berri as part of his latest drive regarding the issue of the presidency.

He also met with Franjieh, his declared presidential candidate, in the wake of his return from a several-week foreign trip.

Hariri has also met with Kataeb Party chief MP Sami Gemayel and Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat and, according to MTV, he is scheduled to meet in the coming hours with Aoun and Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea.

According to media reports, Berri has insisted in recent days that no president will be elected without an agreement on so-called package deal involving agreements on key issues such as the presidency, the government and the electoral law.

Hariri's return to Lebanon on Saturday has triggered a flurry of rumors and media reports about a possible presidential settlement and the possibility that the ex-PM has finally decided to endorse Aoun for the presidency in a bid to break the deadlock.

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 3
Missing incorruptible 30 September 2016, 13:00

Thugs of a feather flock together. So shocked.

Thumb ex-fpm 30 September 2016, 14:55

that's exactly what hezbollah and the FPM are.

Missing humble 30 September 2016, 16:09

Very true.