BEIRUT: The Future Movement will not back Sleiman Frangieh's candidacy permanently, Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk reportedly said Friday.
Machnouk denied in remarks to Al-Joumhouria newspaper that he had marketed within the Future Movement the idea of backing Change and Reform bloc MP Michel Aoun's candidacy.
"I only proposed to think about alternative ideas, as MP Sleiman Frangieh will not remain the Future Movement's candidate forever," the daily quoted the senior Future member as saying.
Frangieh, who is supported by Berri, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, MP Walid Jumblatt and some independent lawmakers, is standing against Aoun in the presidential race.
"We should lay all the alternative choices before us to end this crisis. I said we wanted a president and not Aoun," Machnouk said.
Aoun, Hezbollah’s sole candidate for the presidency and who is also backed by the Lebanese Forces and some March 8 groups, was reported to be counting on last-minute support from the Future bloc to boost his chances for being elected president.
The Future Movement’s parliamentary bloc has decided to reject Aoun’s presidential bid, while reiterating its support for Frangieh’s candidacy, Future MPs said earlier this week, in a move diluting hopes for the founder of the Free Patriotic Movement to be elected head of state.
The decision to not support Aoun for the top job was made during the Future bloc’s meeting last week that was chaired unexpectedly by Hariri.
Although former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, the head of the Future bloc, and other bloc members denied Monday that any vote on Aoun’s candidacy had been held, media reports said some 23 MPs opposed Aoun and only three MPs supported him.
Lawmakers from Aoun’s bloc, Hezbollah’s bloc and some of its March 8 allies have been boycotting the electoral sessions, thus preventing a quorum.