With the beginning of popular protests on October 17, the family of President Michel Aoun was shaken with political disagreements, specifically between his three daughters, over the policies of Aoun’s son-in-law, the head of the FPM and Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil.
Indications of a dispute emerged few months ago, when MP Shamel Roukoz, the president’s son-in-law, announced his withdrawal from the FPM’s Strong Lebanon parliamentary bloc.
However, recent reports noted that Aoun’s daughter and advisor, Mireille (the wife of Roy Hashem, OTV channel’s director-general) has left the presidential palace due to a clash with Bassil, to later return to Baabda to assume her role but with restricted authorities.
On Thursday, the Kataeb Party website quoted sources close to Mireille as saying that Aoun has asked her to no longer deal with politics, and to leave such affairs to Bassil.
In a television interview, Claudine, the wife of MP Shamel Roukoz, acknowledged the emergence of a new opposition within the FPM.
“There are different approaches within the same house, and in the end, the people voted and gave their confidence to the deputies. There is a great responsibility to be assumed today,” she said.
Political disputes seem to threaten the personal relations between the sisters. Sources close to the FPM noted that the “lines of communication are almost cut between Chantal (Bassil’s wife) on one hand, and her sisters, Claudine and Mireille, on the other, especially following Bassil’s speech last Sunday from Baabda, in which he accused “relatives and strangers” of betrayal.
Naim Aoun – Aoun’s nephew – did not conceal the presence of disputes within the FPM.
In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, he said that the consequences of these rifts would be more obvious following the formation of the new government.
Despite his deep disagreement with the current FPM leaders, Naim tried to minimize the disputes between the three daughters.
“There are no problems among the sisters at the family or personal level, but the political difference between them is clear,” he said.
Both Mireille and Claudine did not attend the FPM demonstration held last Sunday in front of the Baabda Palace.
In a television interview, Claudine lashed out at Bassil without naming him, and commented on popular demands on Bassil to stay away from the government, saying: “As the president’s daughter, I am ready to sit at home if it is in the country’s interest, because a total collapse would not exempt any party, but will affect all sides.”