BEIRUT: Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun intends to step down as the movement’s leader within six months, a senior source in the FPM told The Daily Star Tuesday.
However, the head of the FPM's media office, Wassim Hnoud, denied reports that Aoun was stepping down.
“Gen. Michel Aoun intends to step down once the new organizational structure is set and the elections for the movement’s leadership are held,” said the source who spoke on condition of anonymity and referenced remarks made by Aoun a year ago.
The FPM spokesman said such reports are untrue.
“This issue has been in the media for a while now but it is not accurate,” said Hnoud.
He also criticized the writer of the local daily which published the report.
“Someone tries to make themselves interesting by publishing such things,” Hnoud said.
The anonymous source said that once the implementation of a new FPM organizational structure, that was launched eight months ago, is complete, the movement will hold elections for its chief.
“General Aoun told us last year he will not be running for the presidency of the movement to allow for power rotation within our group,” the source said.
The anonymous source said that Aoun told FPM members that he wants power to rotate within the movement and wants to ensure this happens while he is still alive,“to guarantee the continuity of the movement.”
Aoun commented Tuesday on reports that he plans to step down from the FPM helm, saying he has been training a cadre to take over the party and continue its mission after he departs.
“I have a vision for the future and look forward to it, and contrary to what some people say, the Free Patriotic Movement will survive after Aoun,” the MP told reporters after his party’s weekly meeting in Rabieh.
He also said that the FPM had an agenda that should be adopted by the coming generations “to continue the mission.”
"I will establish and train a cadre who will take over...We have a number of people who accompanied us, and know many details and ongoing social issues,” he added.
Aoun declined, however, to name possible candidates to lead the party.