Continuing Saga of Lebanese Presidency: A Look at ‘Third Option’ Candidates

Credits: The Times of Israel

Activists involved in Lebanese political efforts are optimistic about a potential breakthrough in the country’s political deadlock, leading to the completion of the electoral process through consecutive election sessions.

This optimism stems from the convergence sought by foreign and Arab countries interested in Lebanese affairs, aiming to activate Lebanese state institutions and improve financial stability.

Meanwhile, the water flows from the main fountain in the courtyard of the presidential palace in Baabda, indicating the president’s occupancy of the palace.

Lebanese Party Members (Credits: India TV News)

As the chances of candidates for the “third option” increase, referring to those accepted by all conflicting parties in the country, two names have been excluded from the list due to rejection by the “Shiite duo” (Amal Movement and Hezbollah). These names are former minister Roger Dib and former MP Salah Honein.

The “third option” list includes several fixed names, such as former ministers Ziyad Baroud, Naji Boustani, and Jean-Louis Cardahi, MP Neemat Frem, and former ambassador to the Vatican Brigadier General George Khoury. Judge Ghaleb Ghanem is also close to the list, with other former ministers and MPs seeking to join.

Observers are divided over the chances of former minister Naji Boustani, with some believing he may have lost support due to his involvement in a dispute between the defense minister and the army commander. However, others suggest that the army commander’s recent actions might indicate sympathy towards Boustani.

Each candidate is ready to take over the presidency and choose “men of the covenant,” although the position of the third presidency in the government is currently confined to a narrow list, excluding President Saad Hariri.

The “third option” candidates advocate for the state’s project and revitalizing the country’s institutions, severely affected by an unprecedented financial crisis and institutional paralysis.

While the presidential election is not imminent, many see the current moment as hopeful for breaking the political deadlock, similar to the breakthroughs witnessed during the elections of Presidents Michel Sleiman and Michel Aoun.

Some believe this settlement might extend the chances for candidate Sleiman Frangieh, who narrowly missed the presidency twice before.

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