Bloc holding on to Franjieh amid plots: Ali Hassan Khalil - Exclusive
Lebanese MP and former minister Ali Hassan Khalil underlines that his bloc and its allies are adhering to minister Suleiman Franjieh as the sole option for President.
The statements made by the reformist MPs regarding the presidential election session indicate that the Development and Liberation bloc and its allies were facing immense pressure, Ali Hassan Khalil, the political aide to House Speaker Nabih Berri and Member of Parliament told Al Mayadeen on Friday during an interview about the situation in Lebanon following the failed Parliament session aimed at electing a President for the country.
For the 12th time in a row, the Lebanese parliament failed to elect a president of the Lebanese Republic during the latest session.
The vote count showed 51 votes going to former Minister Suleiman Franjieh, 59 going to former Minister Jihad Azour, and 7 going to former Interior Minister Ziad Baroud.
All 128 MPs were present in the Lebanese Parliament's 12th session which was the highest number of present MPs since the first presidential election session according to an Al Mayadeen correspondent.
"External and internal pressures were exerted on some MPs," Khalil added, explaining that "some were planning to lead the country into uncertainty by claiming that candidate Jihad Azour received more than 65 votes and had won."
"The stances of the Lebanese Forces and the Kataeb Party suggest their involvement in this dangerous scheme," he asserted. "No rational individual would think that such matter would pass without pushing the country into a major crisis."
Creating such a "confusing" constitutional status quo, Khalil said, could be considered a form of warfare. "Saudi Arabia was part of the dangerous plan being prepared after the last session," he asserted.
"The Progressive Socialist Party and Minister Walid Jumblatt justified voting for Azour by stating that he would not succeed and that it was a test, but we were not convinced," Khalil underlined.
Furthermore, he stressed his party's commitment to nominating Minister Suleiman Franjieh affirming its "willingness to engage in dialogue with the Free Patriotic Movement, but the FPM's leadership set the precondition of excluding Franjieh."
Media reports said a number of MPs left the session immediately after they cast their votes during the first round. These MPs did not wait for the voting results which was a clear indication of an intention to force the parliament to fail to meet the quorum before reaching the second ballot.
It is worth noting that the Lebanese Parliament's Resistance Bloc MP, Hassan Fadlallah, said on the sidelines of the session, prior to its beginning, that "what brings together those who agreed on the other candidate is to seek to overthrow candidate Suleiman Franjieh."
The Lebanese opposition, which has vocalized its disapproval of the former President and Free Patriotic Movement leader General Michel Aoun during the October 2019 Revolution, announced the nomination of an official in the International Monetary Fund and former minister, Jihad Azour, for president. Azour then became the opponent the first candidate to have been publicly supported, former Lebanese minister, and Marada Movement leader Suleiman Franjieh.
Azour served as the Director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department at the International Monetary Fund. He served as the Lebanese Minister of Finance between 2005 and 2008 under the government of Fouad Al-Sanioura.
The Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) back in 2013 published the book "Al Ibra Al Mustahil", translated into "The Impossible Absolution", which accused Al-Sanioura's government, in which Azour served as Financial Minister, of multiple financial scandals.