Beirut: Leading Lebanese politicians have expressed strong reservations against the potential candidacy of pro-Syrian MP Sulaiman Franjieh. Recently, the Lebanese legislator became an appealing alternative after a series of secret meetings between Future Movement leader Sa’ad Hariri and Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah. Neither of the leaders have formally backed Franjieh but international and regional events seemed to push the two towards reaching an agreement quickly.
Presidential deadlock has plagued the country since May 2014 with the March 8 movement insisting on Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun and the March 14 movement insisting on Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea.
Both FPM and LF officials have raised objections to Hariri’s recent initiative to push for Franjieh’s nomination.
Aoun, known for his long-held obsession with becoming Lebanese president, refuses to bow out of the race. He has conditioned his backing of Franjieh on specific guarantees over a proposed parliamentary electoral law that would facilitate his party’s victory. Hezbollah mouthpieces also reiterated their sole choice for the post was Aoun.
Geagea rejected ‘any candidate’ who did not clarify his position vis-a-vis Syria. According to Lebanese Forces deputy Elie Marouni, Franjieh’s candidacy was difficult due to his association with Hezbollah and the March 8 alliance.
Geagea warned that “March 14 must not take any steps unless they served their own principles and objectives”. He insisted LF continues to represent “the Lebanese Resistance, the Cedar Revolution and March 14”.
“There can be no Lebanon without March 14,” he said during a party ceremony in Maarab, expressing his clear dissatisfaction with Hariri.