Hezbollah has informed Free Patriotic Movement head Jebran Bassil that it will support Marada Movement chief Suleiman Franjieh’s presidential nomination and will “offer any facilitations that can broaden consensus over his elections,” a media report said on Sunday.
“It has sent Bassil unequivocal signals that it will not back his own nomination under any circumstances” although it is “keen on preserving the political alliance with him,” Kuwait’s al-Rai newspaper reported.
“Hezbollah, which is extremely dismayed by Bassil’s deliberate leaking of his discussions with the party’s leadership, believes that Bassil’s drive and his arbitrary attacks stem from his unhidden desire to prepare the circumstances for his own presidential nomination, with what that requires of prolonging vacuum and working on elimianting those who have the highest chances,” highly informed sources told the daily.
“Bassil’s secret meeting with Speaker Nabih Berri and his deliberate leaks from Paris led to an understanding between Berri and Hezbollah on categorically rejecting Bassil’s supposed nomination for the presidency,” the sources said.
Sources informed on the presidential file meanwhile told al-Rahi that in the wake of Bassil’s leads and statements from the French capital, Franjieh’s backers decided to carry out several steps, most importantly “showing openness to the equation of Franjieh for president and Nawwaf Salam, or anyone else from the same alignment, for premier, in a way that would achieve Lebanese-foreign agreement on finalizing the election.”
Berri will meanwhile explore the stances of the Gulf countries over the presidential election, the sources said, adding that Franjieh’s backers have also decided to “open communication channels with the Lebanese Forces to guarantee the participation of its parliamentary bloc in any electoral session in which the Marada Movement leader can secure victory, at least through casting blank votes, which would drop the excuse of Christian boycott of any session that would see Franjieh’s election.”
Hezbollah is also “open to consensus on any other name which might enjoy broad domestic, international and Arab support, seeing as it wants to create an atmosphere that would allow for international-Gulf involvement in Lebanon’s revival process, after it became reassured over its firm influence and got convinced that no one would protect its weapons other than its weapons,” the sources added.