File - Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi speaks during an interview with The Daily Star in Beirut. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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Resigned Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi Friday denied accusations that Turkey had influenced his victory in the Tripoli municipal elections last month.Speculation had recently emerged in the wake of Rifi's victory in Tripoli's local election last month that Al-Jamaa al-Islamiya, the Muslim Brotherhood's Lebanese wing, may have broken from the mainstream list to back the ex-police chief.Rifi said he believed that the results of the municipal elections have weakened the two primary candidates for March 8 in the northern city. "The people representing Tripoli at the national dialogue table have lost their representation," he said in an indirect jab to former Prime Minister Najib Mikati, who backed the defeated coalition list alongside Future Movement leader Saad Hariri in the municipal elections. Regarding his relationship with Hariri, Rifi stated that "peaceful couriers" are mending ties between them. Rifi also stated that Army Commander Gen. Jean Kahwagi was "one of the primary candidates" for the presidential elections, calling on a rearrangement of the government's power, starting with the election of a president.
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