Lebanon’s opposition parties are expected to officially announce the candidacy of former Minister Jihad Azour for the presidential elections.
Representatives of the Christian parties confirmed moving forward with Azour’s candidacy, while opposition parliamentary sources stressed that the agreement was reached between the opposition and the Free Patriotic Movement, noting that some small formal details were still being discussed.
Lebanese Forces MP, Ghada Ayoub, announced that the coming days would witness the announcement of the opposition’s stance towards Azour’s nomination for the presidency.
“Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri has not held an election session since January, and today there is no excuse for not calling for a session, as all justifications have fallen,” she told a radio interview.
She continued: “Azour is not a candidate for confrontation, and the facts on the ground, in addition to the external circumstances, no longer allow Hezbollah to run the game as it pleases and in the same way.”
Ayoub went on to say that with the nomination of Azour, the opposition succeeded in overthrowing the candidacy of former minister Sleiman Franjieh, who is backed by Hezbollah and the Amal Movement.
“Today there is an existing opposition... We will not allow anyone to impose their candidate on us by force,” the deputy underlined.
Meanwhile, the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) is yet to announce its position on the presidential candidate, knowing that Azour was among the names proposed by the party in a previous initiative.
While PSP MP Ghassan Atallah expressed his optimism that the meeting of the Democratic Gathering parliamentary bloc on Tuesday could end in this direction, his colleague, MP Bilal Abdullah, called for searching for a candidate who would be approved by all political forces.
“We had nominated Jihad Azour for his economic vision and successful experience in the Ministry of Finance; but what is required is to search for a new space for dialogue, and for a common candidate among all political forces. We will announce our position after we feel that all parties have agreed on a specific candidate,” Atallah said.
Meanwhile, Hezbollah and the Amal Movement are still dealing negatively with Azour’s candidacy.
MP Ali Khreis from the Development and Liberation bloc, which is headed by Speaker Nabih Berri, warned against “the danger of the coming days in light of the vacuum in the position of the presidency of the republic and the deliberate paralysis in state administrations...”
In similar remarks, Hezbollah MP Hussein Hajj Hassan said: “We announced our support for Franjieh some time ago, and we are convinced that he is the right person for this role. The other team had a candidate, and now they are trying to agree on another... We will see developments in the coming days.”
“However, we are questioning whether the election of the president can take place without a national understanding,” he added.