Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil speaks at the Lebanese Diaspora Energy 2016 conference in Beirut, Thursday, May 5, 2016. (The Daily Star/Foreign Ministry, HO)
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Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil warned Tuesday of a further prolongation of the presidential vacuum, now in its third year, if MP Michel Aoun is not elected president.However, Bassil said the FPM was ready to drop its support for Aoun, who is backed for the presidency by Hezbollah and some of its March 8 allies and the Lebanese Forces, if the Lebanese people chose another candidate.Aoun's Christian power base was further boosted following the FPM's understanding with its former rival, the LF, that was culminated with a historic reconciliation between Aoun and LF chief Samir Geagea at the latter's residence in Maarab in January.Bassil said if the Lebanese chose another candidate, the FPM would drop its support for Aoun. Bassil, who inherited the FPM's leadership from Aoun, also rejected a new extension of Army commander Gen. Jean Kahwagi's term.The extension of Kahwagi's term by one year last August infuriated the FPM, which prompted the party's two ministers to boycott Cabinet for months.
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