From left, Bassil, Rai, Gemayel and Sayegh in Bkirki, Friday, Dec. 4, 2015. (The Daily Star/Michel Akl, HO)
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The influential Maronite Church, which usually plays a major role in the election of a president, stepped in Friday in an attempt to remove obstacles standing in the way of ending the 18-month-old presidential vacuum, sources in Bkirki said.And in a sign of further backing for MP Sleiman Frangieh's presidential bid, French President Francois Hollande Friday telephoned the Marada Movement leader to discuss the latter's proposed candidacy for the country's top Christian post. Frangieh has emerged as a strong candidate for the presidency following his meeting with Hariri in Paris last month.This prompted Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai to intervene to try to reconcile the Christian parties' conflicting attitudes toward the presidential election.who met with Frangieh Thursday night, praised ongoing efforts to break the presidential deadlock and appeared to bless the Zghorta MP's nomination.
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