BEIRUT — Leader of the Free Patriotic Movement Gebran Bassil told Al Akhbar newspaper in an interview published Tuesday that he was ready to support a presidential candidate “around whom there would be an agreement,” saying the FPM has found itself unable to put forward a strong candidate, representative of the Christians, for the presidency.
In the interview, Bassil accused caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati of not wanting to form a government by proposing a version of the government that asks for the replacement of three ministers “close to the presidential camp, when he knows that Mr. Aoun would not accept it.”
Bassil voiced his objection to a scenario in which a cabinet responsible only for expediting current affairs since May 22 would exercise the functions of President Michel Aoun in case of a presidential vacuum at the end of the Aoun’s term in office on Oct. 31. “We will not accept in any way that the incompetent Mikati government assumes the powers of the president” he insisted, noting that the cabinet lacks “basic prerogatives to meet and take decisions.”
“The presidential vacuum is a mentioned and possible option, but it must not happen,” Bassil told the pro-Hezbollah newspaper, adding that discussions about the presidential election have begun with Hezbollah “without the names of presidential candidates being mentioned so far.”
Bassil said that several scenarios are available. The first option, which is “ideal,” would be a “president endowed with a representativeness that no one can take away from him.” Another option, “which is not very well received, but which we will accept given that the situation is critical and to avoid a vacancy,” consists in “giving up our representativeness to support a candidate,” noting that this “renunciation would be temporary and could be revoked.”
When Bassil was asked by Al Akhbar whether he would support leader of the Marada Movement Sleiman Frangieh for president, he stated he could not “find any reason to convince the Lebanese to support him,” insisting however that he had no problem with Frangieh at a personal level.
On the maritime dispute with Israel, Bassil told the news outlet that it is in the interest of the Israelis to reach an agreement because if not, Hezbollah would have “no choice but to support confrontation and the use of force if Israel does not cooperate.”
US envoy Amos Hochstein resumed indirect talks between Lebanon and Israel in relation to their maritime borders after tension were stoked by the arrival in June of a floating production, storage and offloading unit belonging to the London-listed power company Energean to part of the disputed exclusive economic zone between the countries with the aim to start drilling the Karish gas field on behalf of the Israeli state.
BEIRUT — Leader of the Free Patriotic Movement Gebran Bassil told Al Akhbar newspaper in an interview published Tuesday that he was ready to support a presidential candidate “around whom there would be an agreement,” saying the FPM has found itself unable to put forward a strong candidate, representative of the Christians, for the presidency.In the interview, Bassil accused caretaker Prime...