BEIRUT: Marada Movement chief Sleiman Frangieh Friday rejected calls for the adoption of a federalist system to govern Lebanon and denied speculation of a rift with his ally Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun.
"We will remain by Aoun's side... but we refuse to be notified of a decision 24 hours ahead of its zero-hour," Frangieh told reporters at his residence in Bnashei, one day after hundreds of FPM supporters poured onto the streets of Downtown Beirut to protest what they say is Prime Minister Tammam Salam's usurpation of presidential powers.
"We are with you," the Marada leader said, addressing Aoun, "but you have to coordinate stances with us... We only disagree on the manner, not the stances."
The FPM supporters had scuffled with Lebanese troops Thursday, who prevented them from marching toward the Grand Serail in Downtown Beirut while the Cabinet convened.
Frangieh emphasized that the adoption of federalism would create more disputes in the country, adding "Christians will not have any guarantees to preserve their rights."
Aoun had announced in a recent interview that federalism might be the solution to Lebanon’s woes, but his statement drew the ire of several officials.
"We back Aoun's demands... but we want to fortify the jurisdictions of the president and the preserve the dignity of the premier."
Frangieh also voiced support to the appointment of Shamel Roukoz, head of the Army Commando Unit and son-in-law of Aoun, as Army commander.
Aoun rejects the possibility of extending the term of Army Commander Gen. Jean Kahwagi, who is set to retire in September, accusing the government of illegally extending the terms of other security chiefs.