MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 05th June, 2023) The Lebanese opposition parties have announced the nomination of Jihad Azour, the head of the middle East and Central Asia Department at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), as their single candidate for the country's presidency to face off with former Lebanese Interior Minister Suleiman Frangieh in the upcoming election.
"A consensus has been reached on the candidacy of Jihad Azour ... who has personal, professional and political characteristics and has a serious opportunity to become president ... Today, we announce our readiness to vote for him based on national principles in which we believe," the opposition was quoted as saying by Lebanese newspaper An-Nahar.
Meanwhile, the candidacy of Frangieh, a pro-Syrian politician, is supported by the Shiite movements backed by Iran, but opposed by the Sunni parties, which rely on Saudi Arabia, the newspaper reported. The Sunnis had previously seen only Army Commander Joseph Aoun as a possible president, the report said. However, currently, as Iran and Saudi Arabia have restored their relations, the chances of the Lebanese government forces electing a new president have increased.
The president of Lebanon is elected by the parliament for a six-year term. Former Lebanese President Michel Aoun stepped down at the end of October 2022 after six years in power despite the fact that at the time no other head of state had been elected. Since then, the Lebanese political forces have not been able to agree on the presidential candidate, and presidential functions have been partly undertaken by a transitional cabinet led by Prime Minister Najib Mikati.