Report: Opposition, FPM to announce Azour nomination within 48 hours
The Free Patriotic Movement, the Kataeb party, and the Lebanese Forces will likely announce their support for ex-minister Jihad Azour within 48 hours, al-Akhbar newspaper said.
The daily reported Monday that Maronite Patriarch has lauded the agreement and urged the three parties to announce their presidential candidate as soon as possible, so that he can discuss it this week in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron.
FPM chief Jebran Bassil, who had announced to the opposition his final decision to support Azour, expects all his bloc to do the same, al-Akhbar said. But MP Simon Abi Ramia said Sunday that he supports the nomination of FPM MP Ibrahim Kanaan.
"Patriarch al-Rahi has suggested the name of Kanaan, who has higher chances than Bassil, and I support this proposal," Abi Ramia said.
Other FPM MPs also reportedly support the nomination of Kanaan. "More than ten FPM lawmakers refuse voting for Azour and support Kanaan's nomination," a local media report said.
The FPM-allied Tashnag MPs still haven't decided, while the Progressive Socialist Party would only endorse Azour if there is consensus on him, as it refuses any confrontational candidate. If there is no consensus, the PSP MPs would cast a blank ballot.
Hezbollah MP Mohammed Raad criticized Azour on Sunday, accusing him of being part of the economic crisis and dubbing his nomination as a conspiracy against the resistance.
Azour had reportedly met with Lebanese leaders, including Bassil, Kataeb Party leader Sami Gemayel, LF chief Samir Geagea, ex-PM Fouad Saniora and Speaker Nabih Berri, amid ongoing communication with the Change forces and the Democratic Gathering. According to al-Akhbar he has so far won the support of at least six Change MPs and other independent lawmakers like MPs Ghassan Skaf and Bilal Hocheimi, in addition to the support of the FPM, the LF, and the Tajaddod bloc.