Mobile  |  About us  |  Photos  |  Videos  |  Subscriptions  |  RSS Feeds  |  Today's Paper  |  Classifieds  |  Contact Us
The Daily Star
THURSDAY, 24 APR 2014
04:08 PM Beirut time
Weather    
Beirut
30 °C
Blom Index
BLOM
1,214.01down
Lebanon News
Follow this story Print RSS Feed ePaper share this
FPM looks to Future for support in presidency bid
File - FPM leader Michel Aoun speaks during a press conference in Rabieh, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013. (The Daily Star/Charbel Nakhoul, HO)
File - FPM leader Michel Aoun speaks during a press conference in Rabieh, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013. (The Daily Star/Charbel Nakhoul, HO)
A+ A-

The political and public interest in the recent meeting between Free Patriotic Movement head Michel Aoun and former Prime Minister Saad Hariri is a reflection of how distant the two have been for years.

Relations between the officials were so tense that the talks were kept secret for a long time, with Aoun initially publically denying it even took place.

High-ranking Western sources in Beirut say such a meeting should have taken place a long time ago, but suggest that the March 14 bloc was unsure of how to take advantage of Aoun’s disagreement with Hezbollah over its role fighting alongside the Syrian regime.

So instead of establishing dialogue with him, the sources said, the bloc maintained its narrow policy toward the FPM.

Today, the broad results of that meeting, which took place at Hariri’s home in Paris, are more important than the details, especially given its potential to boost Aoun’s chances in the presidential election on May 25.

The Western sources ruled out the possibility that Aoun and Hariri discussed the presidential polls. They suggested that March 14’s aim was likely to create a crack, albeit a small one, between the FPM leader and his ally Hezbollah, partly in order to curtail the latter’s control of political life and security in Lebanon and partly to prompt the party to review its options, particularly regarding the Syrian conflict.

Aoun himself has insinuated to some of his close partners that he and Hariri reached a political deal on most of the files that were raised. Although he did not go into any details, he did say the matter of the presidential election was the one topic that had yet to be resolved, adding that there was no hurry as it has not yet been decided by the relevant regional and international powers.

Sources said Aoun was very optimistic that Hariri would eventually decide to back his presidential bid, and suggested that the issue would become clearer in the coming weeks.

But according to parliamentary sources from Aoun’s Change and Reform bloc who have been following up on the consultations leading up to the meeting, although the talks have not yet touched on the presidential election, work to prepare for such discussions was underway.

According to these sources, the primary accomplishment of the meeting was the deal surrounding the current Cabinet’s formation.

The sources added that as a result of that meeting, FPM-affiliated ministers will now coordinate with Future Movement ministers regarding which files to raise after the Cabinet receives a vote of confidence.

Having ministers associated with different political parties working together is bound to create some tensions, the sources said, but the Change and Reform bloc is focusing on securing a positive outcome as a result of the newly open relations between Aoun and Hariri.

The sources also said that even if Hariri eventually decided not to support Aoun in his presidential bid, the FPM leader would continue to pursue more open relations with all political powers in the country as he has recently been doing, and would not return to the discriminatory pattern he adopted in the past.

Sources close to the Future Movement said the meeting took place at Aoun’s request, adding that it was not the first time he had requested such an assembly. The goal of the recent meeting was to gain support for the presidential polls, they confirmed, but said the Future Movement felt it was too early to delve into such an issue, not to mention the fact that March 14 would be putting forward its own presidential candidate.

Sources familiar with the issue said Aoun could simply move from one party to another just to gain support for his candidacy. In addition, the sources added, nearly all political powers – whether allied with him or not – are concerned about the position Aoun might take on a number of issues if he does succeed in becoming president.

These sources suggested Hariri responded to Aoun’s request for a meeting in order to redress the Future Movement’s previous policy, which prompted the Christian leader to embrace Hezbollah.

But the new positive atmosphere between the two was not likely to extend to Hariri providing support for Aoun’s presidential bid, the sources said, unless the regional and international powers were receptive to the idea.

The probability of a centrist character reaching the presidency was far more likely than Parliament voting for a strong Christian candidate from either March 8 or March 14, the sources said, unless there was a strong consensus with Bkirki.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on February 20, 2014, on page 4.
Home Lebanon News
 
     
 
Lebanon
Advertisement
Comments  

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus
Story Summary
The political and public interest in the recent meeting between Free Patriotic Movement head Michel Aoun and former Prime Minister Saad Hariri is a reflection of how distant the two have been for years.

The Western sources ruled out the possibility that Aoun and Hariri discussed the presidential polls.

Sources said Aoun was very optimistic that Hariri would eventually decide to back his presidential bid, and suggested that the issue would become clearer in the coming weeks.

The sources also said that even if Hariri eventually decided not to support Aoun in his presidential bid, the FPM leader would continue to pursue more open relations with all political powers in the country as he has recently been doing, and would not return to the discriminatory pattern he adopted in the past.

The new positive atmosphere between the two was not likely to extend to Hariri providing support for Aoun's presidential bid, the sources said, unless the regional and international powers were receptive to the idea.
Related Articles
 
 
Lebanon's Arabic press digest – Apr. 15, 2014
 
 
Regional powers’ stance on presidency not yet known
 
 
What is needed,a fireman or a firestarter?
 
 
Aoun unlikely to announce candidacy by 23: MP
 
 
Lack of regional consensus makes presidential vote on April 23 unlikely
Show More
More from
Hasan Lakkis
 
 
March 8 blank ballots set to spoil first vote
 
 
Bill of fire delay triggers anger, strike
 
 
Key questions unanswered in wage hike bill
 
 
Banks strike over tax hike proposal
 
 
Lawmakers make strides to fund wage hike
Entities
Advertisement


Baabda 2014
Advertisement
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Linked In Follow us on Google+ Subscribe to our Live Feed
Multimedia
Images  
Pictures of the day
A selection of images from around the world- Thursday April 24, 2014
View all view all
Advertisement
Rami G. Khouri
Rami G. Khouri
Israel shows Zionism’s true colors
Michael Young
Michael Young
For Christians, blessed are the dividers
David Ignatius
David Ignatius
An Iran deal is close, but we’re not there yet
View all view all
Advertisement
cartoon
 
Click to View Articles
 
 
News
Business
Opinion
Sports
Culture
Technology
Entertainment
Privacy Policy | Anti-Spamming Policy | Disclaimer | Copyright Notice
© 2014 The Daily Star - All Rights Reserved - Designed and Developed By IDS