BEIRUT: Marada Movement leader Sleiman Frangieh Wednesday left a critical meeting with political ally-turned presidential competitor Michel Aoun without making a statement, suggesting no agreement was reached for one of them to step aside.
The meeting at Aoun's home in Rabieh came amid tensions between the March 8 allies which surfaced after Frangieh became a serious contender for the presidency following his reported meeting with former Prime Minister Saad Hariri in Paris a few weeks ago.
Hariri, a leading March 14 figure, is believed to be seeking a deal whereby Frangieh becomes president in exchange for him returning to the premiership.
But Aoun, who heads the Change and Reform Bloc, has already been established as the March 8 coalition's presidential candidate. The March 14 candidate, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea, has also expressed his opposition to the deal, as has Kataeb Party chief Sami Gemayel.
The Aoun-Frangieh meeting was the first of its kind since Frangieh became a potential candidate. He had visited Aoun earlier this month to offer condolences over the death of his brother, but politics were not discussed.
Frangieh has not yet been officially nominated, however some of Lebanon’s parties, including the Future Movement which Hariri heads and the Progressive Socialist Party, have thrown their support behind him.
In a post on his official Twitter page a few days ago, Frangieh said “wherever we are, we will not have a dispute with General Aoun,” rejecting divisions between his long-time ally.
Lebanon has been without a head of state since Michel Sleiman’s term expired in May 2014.