Report: PSP, FPM MPs divided over Azour's nomination
Parliament will convene next week to elect a president, amid high tensions between supporters of Marada leader Suleiman Franjieh and former minister Jihad Azour.
The opposition and the Free Patriotic Movement said they have agreed on voting for Azour but media reports said Tuesday that at least six FPM MPs will not vote for Azour, even after FPM chief Jebran Bassil met with them and tried to convinced them of voting for the former minister of finance.
The Democratic Gathering bloc also still hasn't decided whether to vote for Azour or not, but PSP outgoing chief walid Jumblat is leaning toward casting blank votes, al-Akhbar newspaper said. After returning from Paris, Jumblat will meet with the bloc to discuss the matter. Political sources told al-Akhbar that the bloc's MPs are divided over Azour's support.
"I don't think that Jumblat would get into a problem with Hezbollah and me for a candidate nominated by Bassil," Ain el-Tineh visitors quoted Speaker Nabih Berri as saying.
Change and independent MPs are also divided regarding Azour's nomination, while former Prime Minister Saad Hariri has reportedly advised the Sunni MPs not to ally with Bassil and with Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea, the daily said.
Meanwhile, opposition leaders claim that their candidate can garner 65 votes.
"Azour is not the opposition's candidate, he is a consensual candidate between the opposition and Hezbollah's ally, the FPM," MP and former presidential candidate Michel Mouawad said Monday, after he withdrew his nomination and announced his support for Azour.
"The 'Franjieh or vacuum' approach is a hegemony project," he added.
Hezbollah MP Hassan Fadlallah on Tuesday stated that the Shiite Duo is not afraid of the electoral session and that no camp has the needed 65 votes. "Berri's call refutes the rival camps' claims that there won't be a session because we can't guarantee the success of our candidate," he said.
Berri had on Monday called for a presidential election session on June 14, a day after the opposition officially endorsed Azour as its presidential candidate.