Lebanon fails to elect President for 12th time
In the latest Presidential elections session in the Lebanese Parliament candidate Jihad Azour received 59 votes while Suleiman Frangieh received 51 votes.
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 Frangieh, 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 Al Mayadeen correspondent.
#Lebanon's parliament failed to elect a president for the 12th time with neither former #Lebanese minister and Marada Movement leader Sleiman Frangieh nor former finance minister Jihad Azour securing enough votes to win the first round of voting.— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) June 14, 2023
Azour became the opponent of… pic.twitter.com/TFwPQQd8OK
According to media reports, 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 Frangieh."
Opposition interests converge with FPM
The Lebanese opposition, which has vocalized its disapproval of the former President and Free Patriotic Movement leader General Michel Aoun during the so-called October 17 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 Sleiman Frangieh.
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” which translates to "The Impossible Absolution", which accused Al-Sanioura's government, in which Azour served as Financial Minister, of multiple financial scandals.
بخصوص الإبراء المستحيل وبأنّ ازعور ربيب السنيورة... طيّب ما نحنا وحزب الله دخلنا بحكومة برئاسة السنيورة سنة 2008، يعني بعد حرب تموز وبعد 7 ايّار. مندخل وبتدخلوا بحكومة برئاسة السنيورة معليش! ولكن بيصير جهاد ازعور بالرئاسة هو الشيطان؟؟— Gebran Bassil (@Gebran_Bassil) June 13, 2023
Earlier in June, the current leader of the FPM Gebran Bassil declared his movement's support for Azour as President, in clear opposition to Frangieh who was publicly supported by multiple groups including Hezbollah who announced that Frangieh was their preferred Presidential candidate.
Yesterday, however, Bassil, in a speech, noted that "Our disagreement with Hezbollah was about state-building and the Presidency of the Republic, and we tried to develop the mutual understanding we have, but we did not get the proper response, but we still agree on Resistance and the principle of the defense strategy. Therefore, the mutual understanding has not fallen. "
Bassil also warned some members of his political party serving as members of Parliament of the dangers of not abiding by the decision of the Political Movement Council, because it "means they want to dismantle the Free Patriotic Movement."
Frangieh proposes himself Christian and regional leader
Frangieh, on June 11, said that in 2005 and 2018, his name was proposed as a candidate for the presidency, adding that every lawmaker can choose a candidate whom they consider can fulfill their vision for a future Lebanon.
This came during a speech by Franjieh on the 45th anniversary of the Ehden massacre, which took place on June 13, 1978, in which MP and Minister Tony Sleiman Frangieh, his wife and daughter, and a large number of his supporters were massacred by Bashir Gemayel's Phalangist gunmen.
Frangieh is a long-time ally of Damascus and the Lebanese resistance.
Touching on the Lebanese presidency file, Frangieh said he is not ashamed of belonging to a political project, pointing out that his allies know that he would be open to every side if he were president.
Frangieh indicated that the other political party decided to cancel and obstruct the process of electing a new president for the country, affirming, "We are ready for bilateral and comprehensive dialogue without restrictions or conditions in order to solve the Lebanese problem and not exclude anyone."
He said no candidate other than himself was asked about their political projects, such as the defense strategy, the refugee crisis, the Lebanese economy, or other files.
"We pursue a path of a clear and frank relationship with everyone at home and abroad," he added.
Frangieh made it clear that he does not impose himself on any side, stressing that he has no problem with any candidate other than himself being chosen by agreement to save the country.
In conclusion, Frangieh proclaimed "I am Maronite, I am Christian, I am Lebanese, I am patriotic, I am Arab," and noted that he is proud of that belonging.
انا ماروني انا مسيحي انا لبناني انا وطني انا عربي "ع راس السطح".— Sleiman Frangieh (@sleimanfrangieh) June 11, 2023