Bassil slams Franjieh, says there can be no president without FPM
Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil has stressed that the FPM will not endorse the presidential nomination of Marada Movement leader Suleiman Franjieh, even if all other parties agree on him.
“The FPM would not lose if Suleiman Franjieh becomes president… and he does not represent a threat to us,” Bassil is heard telling supporters in a leaked audio recorded during his ongoing visit to Paris.
“We have been given whatever you want of guarantees and demands, even without asking for them, and all parties are telling me to say what I want,” Bassil added.
“What will he promise you of? That he will fight corruption or build a state?” the FPM chief went on to say, ridiculing Franjieh’s nomination.
Responding to a supporter’s question, Bassil said: “We always choose the hard path. The easiest thing today would be to let them elect Suleiman Franjieh and we would get whatever we want – in the state and as to ministers and protection and many other things. We would get our share from oil.”
“We would get what we want, rest for six years and become president after six years. We are choosing to say no in order to achieve real reform and a real state, because he (Franjieh) can’t do them,” Bassil explained.
He added that “the issue is not about having a candidate but rather about finding a candidate and securing consensus for him.”
As for possible pressures on him, the FPM chief said: “I cannot be pressured nor embarrassed and I have said through the media that (even Hezbollah chief) Sayyed Hassan (Nasrallah) cannot sway me.”
“It is not important to become president, but rather to succeed (as president),” Bassil added.
Revealing that he has information that “things are not ready today” regarding the presidential election, Bassil emphasized that “there can be no president” without the FPM.
Moreover, Bassil warned that Franjieh’s election would be “a return to 1990” when “(Rafik) Hariri, (Nabih) Berri and (Elias) Hrawi” were in power.
“Another version would be (Najib) Mikati, Berri and Franjieh,” he cautioned.