Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk speaks during a press conference in Beirut. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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The British and Saudi embassies in Beirut Friday denied that their countries had played key roles in the nomination of MP Sleiman Frangieh for the presidency, in a rebuff to Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk who had said that the decision was initially proposed by the British Foreign Office and endorsed by Riyadh.Last November, Hariri nominated Frangieh for the presidency as a part of an internationally backed initiative to end the power vacuum.However, Frangieh's presidential bid has been stymied after it faced strong opposition from the three main Christian parties: the Free Patriotic Movement, the Lebanese Forces and the Kataeb Party.Frangieh is standing against MP Michel Aoun, who is supported by Hezbollah and some of March 8 allies as well as the LF. Both Aoun and Frangieh belong to the Hezbollah-led March 8 coalition. Lebanon has been without a president for more than two years since former President Michel Sleiman's six-year tenure ended in May 2014 . Rifi urged Hariri and LF chief Samir Geagea to withdraw their nomination for Frangieh and Aoun for the presidency and to revive their alliance.Rifi said he doesn't believe that either Frangieh or Aoun stood any chance of being elected president.
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