ASIA/LEBANON - Presidential elections: the vacant Lebanese presidency could be filled by Suleiman Franjieh, a Maronite Christian politician

Beirut - The vacant Lebanese presidency could be filled by Suleiman Franjieh, a Maronite Christian politician, a childhood friend of Syrian President Bashar Assad. In recent days there have been increasing signs of an imminent breakthrough of the political paralysis that for more than half a year failed to elect the successor of Michel Sleiman, whose term had come to an end in May 2014. On Thursday, December 3 - report Lebanese sources - Franjieh was received at the patriarchal seat of Maronite Patriarch Boutros Bechara Bkerké Rai, who has just come back from the pastoral visits made in Germany and Mexico. The Primate of the Maronite Church had words of encouragement for he who is preparing to take the presidential office in the country of the cedars, stressing that anticipations on his possible election have "restored joy to the Lebanese".
The emergence of the candidacy of Franjieh may represent a compromise between the two blocs - the "March 8 Coalition" and the "March 14 Coalition" - that dominate the Lebanese political scene, and would lead to set aside the two candidates: Michel Aoun and Samir Geagea. Franjieh is considered close to Aoun, and until now had expressed his support for the candidacy of the former general. The support to Franjieh by the "March 8" Coalition, which includes the Shiite Hezbollah, along with the Free Patriotic Movement of Aoun therefore seems almost obvious. On the other side, Saad Hariri, leader of the Sunni "Future" party showed openings to the compromise solution.
The Lebanese media reported that the "Franjieh solution" also obtained the green light from Saudi Arabia, considered the regional power able to influence the "March 14 Coalition". The same Suleiman Franjieh, in a recent statement, said that if elected for president he will leave behind "all disagreements of a personal nature".