(The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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Thousands of Free Patriotic Movement supporters turned out Sunday near the presidential palace in the Beirut suburb of Baabda in a show of force apparently intended to step up pressure on former Prime Minister Saad Hariri to endorse MP Michel Aoun's candidacy for the presidency.Aoun, the FPM founder, addressed the rally via video link but did not attend in person.The rally was also addressed by party leader and Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, and attended by Education Minister Elias Bou Saab, FPM lawmakers, and thousands of supporters waving the party's orange flags and Aoun's portraits.The rally staged along the road leading to the Baabda Palace – often referred to as the "House of the People" by FPM officials – symbolizes the party's determination to have Aoun elected as president.Lebanese Forces MP George Adwan said in a statement he expected Hariri to announce his support for Aoun's candidacy in the next two days, which would set the stage for the election of the FPM founder at the Parliament session on Oct. 31 .Addressing the rally, Bassil said that the FPM's dream was to see Aoun become president.
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