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After External Support, Franjieh Obtains the Patriarchate’s Blessing | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Suleiman Franjieh

Suleiman Franjieh

Suleiman Franjieh

Consultations between political forces have intensified in Lebanon, especially between Christian parties, to push for the nomination of MP Suleiman Franjieh as president of Lebanon. The flurry of activity comes after the Marada Movement leader appeared to have both regional and international backing.

Following a meeting between Future Movement Leader Saad Hariri and French President Francoise Hollande on Thursday, the latter called Franjieh yesterday to discuss the latest developments in regional and international fields. The call left the impression across Lebanese parties that the presidential vacuum would soon be filled.

Sources said that Lebanon’s Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rai held talks with Franjieh. The patriarch also discussed the presidential issue over the phone with the leader of the Lebanese Forces Samir Geagea on Friday morning. A meeting was also held in Bkirki between Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rai, the Free Patriotic Movement leader Gebran Bassil and Kataeb Party leader MP Sami Gemayel. Gemayel said after the meeting that no one had vetoed a candidate, and that if Franjieh was ready to let go of his personal friendships and his political discourse that only appeals to a portion of the Lebanese population, then the Kataeb party will support him, referring to the friendship between the leader of the Marada Movement and the Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.

In a related matter, the Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq said at a press conference he considers Arsal to be “an occupied region” and that “our main concern is to avoid being dragged into the Syrian conflict.”

After a meeting with the General Security Chief Abbas Ibrahim, Mashnouq added that what is “happening in the region of Arsal is linked to the Syrian war” and “instead of complaining about pictures of gunmen” we “must strengthen our policies to avoid involvement in the Syrian fire”.