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Lebanon: Race between Aoun’s Movement and Attempts to Reach Agreement among Rivals | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Lebanese lawmakers meet in the Lebanese Parliament during a session in 2013. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

Beirut-The Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) has placed a plan for “gradual escalatory” measures in the streets of Lebanon, Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper learned on Sunday.

The FPM, which is founded by MP Michel Aoun and led by Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, is currently holding meetings at several areas in Mount Lebanon with the aim of coming up with a plan that would drive its supporters gradually to the streets.

A leading FPM figure told Asharq Al-Awsat there is a tendency to escalate in the streets in light of the Cabinet’s decision to hold its sessions in the absence of the movement’s ministers, adding: “We represent the majority of Christians.”

While the FPM hints it might resort to street demonstrations, political leaders are exerting strong efforts to reach a possible solution to the country’s stalemate.

Deputy Marwan Hamadeh told Asharq Al-Awsat: “We are trying to manage the impasse and organize the dispute. We will not allow Michel Aoun to take us back to the stage of the Liberation War just because he wants to reach the presidential seat.”

The Christians of the March 14 alliance did not welcome Aoun’s decision to resort to protests. Deputy Dory Chamoun told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Hezbollah is using Aoun to reach its target and implement the Iranian policy in Lebanon.”

A source from the Future Movement told Asharq Al-Awsat the party was still holding onto the candidacy of Deputy Suleiman Franjieh. The source said: “Hezbollah does not want to elect Aoun as a president, or else, the party would have attended the parliamentary sessions and had voted for Aoun.”

He added the party was rather abiding by the Iranian policy that aims to paralyze the country and its constitutional institutions by keeping Lebanon’s decision-making in the hands of Tehran.

The source said Iran was not exerting pressure on the so-called Hezbollah to elect a Maronite Christian president in Lebanon, and therefore, Tehran was not abiding to the will of France and the Vatican.

Future MP Nidal Tohmeh described the FPM escalation as the last chance for Aoun to be elected president. “Threatening to resort to the streets would lead the country to suicide,” he said.