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Hariri from Ein Teeneh: I want a president no matter the cost
 
 
 
 
 
 
18-02-2016
 
Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri received this afternoon at the "Center House" Head of Marada Movement MP Sleiman Franjieh and held a lunch in his honor. Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk, former MP Ghattas Khoury, former Minister Youssef Saade and Premier Hariri's Chief of Staff Nader Hariri attended the lunch.

Premier Hariri reasserted to the media his commitment to endorse MP Franjieh's candidacy to the presidency.

After the lunch, Franjieh said: "You all know the nature of our relationship with Premier Hariri, particularly recently. Today we accepted the invitation to lunch. The aim was first to present condolences for the martyrdom of Premier Rafic Hariri, with whom we had a relationship of friendship. I think the past period was different from today. The spirits are calmer and the atmosphere improved. It has become known who was really a friend of Premier Hariri and who had political relations with him. We may have differed at one time or agreed at another, but the affection and respect were always there, and during all the meetings we held with Premier Hariri our relationship with the martyr premier was always an essential issue. We had an affective conversation in this regard."

He added: "Politically, we came today to thank Premier Hariri for supporting our candidacy for the Presidency and putting emphasis on this support. We discussed current issues that some may consider secondary in the country, while Premier Hariri and myself think that they are essential, and these are the socio-economic and the environmental issues. Many people scolded us because they considered that we are discussing secondary issues, but for us they are important and essential. We also talked about the democratic duty of each Lebanese and we have a common point of view on this issue, and this will continue, especially that we have a parliamentary session on March 2."

Question: Are you going to participate to this session?
Franjieh: All possibilities are on the table and will see how things go. I want to say that I always coordinate with my allies and do nothing without coordinating with the allies, because this is the basis.

Question: Do you think that you still have a chance for the presidency
Franjieh: I always say that my chances are equal to the chances of the others, and I do not want to say that my chances are greater than others'.

Question: You say you are coordinating with your allies. Is it possible that this coordination clears the way for the participation of the Marada in the next session?
Franjieh: We say there will not be a President in Lebanon who does not have national consensus. Ever step taken will be coordinated with the allies.

Question: Did you expect Premier Hariri to announce your nomination from Biel?
Franjieh: Premier Hariri and I agree on many issues, and if some want Premier Hariri to nominate me to use this nomination in a tensed sectarian atmosphere and to benefit negatively from it, I believe Premier Hariri, and my agreement and understanding with him are clear, and he announced it on February 14 and endorsed what I said in the television interview.

Question: Do you coordinate only with Hezbollah and Speaker Nabih Berri? What about the dialogue between you and the Free Patriotic Movement?
Franjieh: We consider the Free Patriotic Movement an ally and we consider General Aoun a friend and an ally. Today things are not at their best, but we consider under all circumstances, that we and the Free Patriotic Movement remain in one line and one stance. General Aoun sees my nomination to the presidency as a competition with him, while we consider that our circumstances are different from his. If Premier Hariri had endorsed the candidacy of General Aoun, he would have been able to make him attain the Presidency due to the size of his parliamentary bloc. But if they ask me to withdraw my candidacy to embarrass Premier Hariri, then it is not my hobby to embarrass a person who was loyal to me and endorsed my candidacy in a noble way. I will not embarrass any of those who endorsed my candidacy, and I have no problem with those who want to nominate General Aoun.

Question: Will you go along with your candidacy?
Franjieh: As long as there are blocs supporting it, I will not withdraw it.

When MP Franjieh left, Premier Hariri was asked to comment on his statement. Hariri said: "The words of Franjieh are of gold."
 
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