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Bassil Seeking Lebanese President with Sizeable Parliamentary, Ministerial Support

Bassil Seeking Lebanese President with Sizeable Parliamentary, Ministerial Support

Sunday, 14 August, 2022 - 07:00
Leader of the Lebanese Free Patriotic Movement Gebran Bassil talks during a joint press conference with Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto, following their meeting in the latter's office in Budapest, Hungary, 15 July 2022. (EPA)

Head of Lebanon’s Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) MP Gebran Bassil stressed that he opposes vacuum in the position of president.

“The country cannot tolerate such a vacuum,” he declared after holding talks with Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi at his summer residence in Diman.

Presidential elections are set for November with blocs intensifying their efforts to reach agreements on potential candidates.

“The elections will not lead to the desired change, but they are a constitutional event that must be held on time,” continued Bassil, who is President Michel Aoun’s son-in-law and whom media suggest has his own presidential aspirations.

“The president’s power stems from the privileges - limited as they are - that he enjoys,” continued the MP. “It is important that the president use his powers.”

Selecting the candidate must be based on his character and then, the extent of his representation, he remarked. “The president must represented by parliamentary and ministerial bloc that supports him and consolidates the strength of his privileges and position.”

The final say over this issue must lie in the hands of the “actual representatives,” he suggested. “This is an opportunity for Bkirki [the Patriarchate] to take the initiative and we will respond to it.”

Moreover, Bassil said the president “must be directly elected by the people and he must be of the people to avoid the threat of vacuum.”

The constitution stipulates that the president must be elected by parliament.

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