Beirut-Relations between Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea and Future Movement leader Saad Hariri are witnessing unprecedented tension after their differences became public.
Geagea has accused Hariri of rejecting the understanding reached between the LF and MP Michel Aoun, the founder of the Free Patriotic Movement.
Hariri, in his turn, has accused his ally Geagea of obstructing his initiative to resolve the presidential crisis that calls for the election of Marada Movement leader MP Suleiman Franjieh as head of state.
Geagea tried to limit the tension on Thursday by issuing an internal memo that urges all LF MPs, officials and media outlets affiliated to it “not to target the Future Movement in any form even if they were countered with certain remarks and stances.”
He stressed in the memo that ties with Hariri are “deeper than tactical issues.”
Yet some sources believe that the “ongoing misunderstanding” between the two sides has been on the rise, particularly that Future’s resentment of the understanding between the LF and FPM – the two Christian parties- has grown.
Future lawmaker Ammar Houri said relations with the LF are “imperfect” since Geagea decided to back last year the so-called Orthodox Gathering draft-law, which calls for each sect to elect its own MPs.
Houri told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the presidential crisis complicated the issue more. In addition to that, the municipal elections that were held last month put more strain on the ties between the two parties when the LF did not support the “Beirutis’ List” that was backed by the Future.
Late last year, Hariri nominated Franjieh, a close ally of the Syrian regime for the country’s presidency. His move angered Geagea, who then nominated Aoun.
“The first person that put you up for candidacy was [me] Saad Hariri, just a reminder … And it was you and Hezbollah who hindered my initiative to end the presidential vacuum,” Hariri said lately.
But Geagea’s advisor Wehbe Qatisha told Asharq Al-Awsat that the LF chief should not be addressed that way.
“As if they are telling us: We decide (on your behalf) and you execute,” said Qatisha about Future. “We are not followers and we don’t accept things to be imposed on us.”
Qatisha tried to downplay the LF-Future differences by saying “We have a single strategy.”