Franjieh: No President Can be Elected without Assad Consent
Marada Movement leader MP Suleiman Franjieh on Wednesday announced that any candidate must enjoy Syrian President Bashar Assad's approval to be elected a president in Lebanon, noting that the embattled Syrian leader would be “pleased” if Free Patriotic Movement chief MP Michel Aoun manages to reach the Baabda Palace.
“No president can be elected in Lebanon without Bashar Assad's consent,” Franjieh underlined during an interview with NBN television.
“Assad will be pleased if General Aoun becomes president and this is what he has announced and Aoun knows that Assad admires him,” Franjieh added.
Commenting on Aoun's remarks that he would guarantee former Premier Saad Hariri's “political security” if he returns to Lebanon, the Marada chief described the statement as a “slip of the tongue.”
He pointed out that the FPM leader did not mean that he knows the parties that might seek to assassinate Hariri.
In response to a question, Franjieh said he does not support Aoun's proposal on staging parliamentary elections in the absence of a president, saying “we had agreed in Bkirki not to hold elections under the 1960 (electoral) law.”
Pressed several times to reveal whether he would eventually agree to holding the polls, Franjieh said: “I believe that national accord is more important than anything … the entire system is wrong nowadays.”
Earlier on Wednesday, lawmakers failed for the seventh time to elect a new president as differences between the rival parties seemed not to be abating.
Speaker Nabih Berri postponed the session to July 2 to fill the seat of the country's top Christian post at Baabda Palace.
The failure to choose a successor to Michel Suleiman, whose term expired on May 25, is the result of the boycott of the majority of March 8 alliance's MPs.
Aoun, whose Change and Reform bloc is among those who caused lack of quorum in parliament, has said he would run for the presidency if there was consensus on him.