Marada Movement Leader Suleiman Franjieh confirmed Saturday that “20 years ago, I saw that President Bashar al-Assad will remain. Today, I believe that Hafez Bashar al-Assad will also remain”.
“I’m not afraid on the regime, “he said, and assured that” Syria is getting more comfortable with time”.
In an interview with al-Akhbar Lebanese daily, he also stressed: “Syria is in the heart of any coming settlement when time comes. The settlement is linked to the picture of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime”.
“The international balance exists, and time is beneficial for the regime and not its enemies, Franjieh confirmed.
In parallel, he highlighted that “the regime is strong as the army remains strong and unified, despite all pressures and attempts to divide and collapse it”.
“If Syria is cleaned, some people will lose and will have no option to return”, the Lebanese official said.
On the local front, Franjieh defended the Orthodox draft electoral law against claims it would weaken the Sunni community, and voiced doubt over the possibility of holding the upcoming elections.
Franjieh also spoke about a recent meeting in Bkirki that gathered most Maronite Christian leaders to discuss criticism over the proposal presented by the Orthodox Gathering.
“Kataeb leader Amin Gemayel spoke to us about the concerns of the Sunni community but I think such concerns belonged to the Future Movement, which does not represent all Sunnis. He said they were afraid and felt disadvantaged [under this law]”, Franjieh said.
In parallel, he confirmed that “I do not know where the disadvantage would be if Sunnis elected the Sunnis and Christians elected their own MPs”.
He further accused the Future Movement of fearing a loss of dominance over the Sunni vote.
“The Future Movement seeks to dominate all Sunni seats and some Christian ones. It does not want diversity”, he said, noting that March 8 dominates the Shiite vote given the tight alliance between Amal Movement and Hizbullah.
As he clarified that the Christians would compensate for their weak representation if the Orthodox proposal was adopted, he called for trying the proposal and discover the flaws.
“We should try proportional representation … Under the 1960 law, some Christian MPs were voted in via other sects but the blame falls on the Christian parties themselves given their lack of a unified stance and not the law”, he said.
Despite the deep divide among rival parties, Franjieh said, there is an agreement that “the elections will not be administered under a law that is opposed by any party”.
In his interview with the local daily, the leader of the Marada Movement voiced Skepticism whether elections will be held at all.
“Let’s see whether we are actually going to the elections. What is clear, however, is that there will be no elections based on the 1960 law”, he said.
Franjieh renewed his criticism against President Michel Suleiman, particularly over his opposition to the Orthodox proposal.
“France and Qatar oppose the Orthodox law and that’s why [Suleiman] is against. It’s simple”, he said, and confirmed:
“There is a regional battle between two projects; if Syria wins then the resistance in Lebanon as well as our project win but if [the government in] Syria loses then the Future Movement and their Allies win and the president is acting as the March 14 coalition’s Trojan horse”.
He also mentioned that “now that Syria has been weakened, he has shown his true self ; biased and against our project”.
“Suleiman is the March 14 camp’s Trojan horse”, he explained, and noted that the President can not violate the Christian consensus.