BEIRUT — Samir Geagea's Lebanese Forces party told a European Union parliamentary delegation Saturday that the "official French proposal" for a president "contradicts" their standards. This comes following news that France unofficially supports Marada leader Sleiman Frangieh, a Hezbollah ally that the party backs for the presidency. French diplomatic sources recently said that Paris does not back any particular presidential candidate.
A delegation of centrist Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from the Renew Europe group Friday met with various Lebanese political formations including Kataeb, the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) and deputies from the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP). The delegation included Christophe Grudler, the MEP in charge of the Lebanese file.
According to a statement published by the National News Agency Saturday, LF and the EU delegation discussed the latest developments in the presidential election file. "The Lebanese Forces affirmed clearly that France's official proposals on this file contradict the standards of the Lebanese Forces," the statement said.
The LF statement said the members of the French delegation expressed their "total understanding of the Lebanese Forces proposals in all files."
The EU delegation said that the European Parliament is preparing "to take a decision regarding the situation in Lebanon" in June, adding that it hopes the decision "meets the expectations and solutions that the Lebanese people are looking for." No additional details on this proposal were given.
For the first time in its history, Lebanon has been without a head of state and government since October 31, 2022, when Michel Aoun left office. Last month, an unofficial nomination of Frangieh for the presidency was being discussed, which led Frangieh to travel to France and meet the country's diplomats.
In a TV interview last month, LF leader Samir Geagea accused France of supporting Frangieh to serve its "common interests" with Hezbollah.
In the past days, Saudi Arabia said via its ambassador in Lebanon, Walid Bukhari, that it has no veto on any consensus candidates. Some observers say that this means that Riyadh is no longer opposed to Frangieh's candidacy. The leader of the Marada movement has yet to announce his candidacy officially.