Marada Party leader Sleiman Frangieh pictured in his north Lebanon mansion, Monday, Aug. 17, 2015. (The The Daily Star/Marada media office, HO)
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Efforts have been stepped up to overcome Christian opposition to MP Sleiman Frangieh's presidential bid amid expectations that former Prime Minister Saad Hariri might return to Beirut soon to seal a political deal on the Marada Movement leader's nomination, Future Movement sources said Sunday."[Former] Prime Minister Hariri's return to Beirut this week is possible if the political settlement [over Frangieh's nomination] becomes ripe and ready to be put into effect," a Future parliamentary source told The Daily Star. He said efforts have been launched to ease opposition to Frangieh's nomination for the presidency from the country's three main Christian parties: the Free Patriotic Movement, the Lebanese Forces and the Kataeb Party. Under a deal that Hariri and MP Walid Jumblatt are reportedly pursuing, Frangieh would be endorsed for the presidency in exchange for Hariri returning to the premiership, which he held from November 2009 until June 2011 .Rai, who last week met with Frangieh and the leaders of the FPM and Kataeb Party in an attempt to reconcile the Christian parties' conflicting stances on the presidential election, called on the rival Maronite leaders to ponder Hariri's initiative seriously with a view to electing a president with "a unified national decision".
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