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In Lebanon, Hezbollah’s alliance with Christian FPM movement shows cracks

The presidential vacuum and ongoing cross-border hostilities have strained already deteriorating relations between the Shiite Hezbollah group and the Free Patriotic Movement.
Supporters of Lebanon's President Michel Aoun cheer under a large national flag, as he prepares to leave the presidential palace in Babbda at the end of his mandate, east of the capital Beirut, on October 30, 2022. - Already reeling from three years of economic meltdown, Lebanon faces the prospect of its multi-faceted crisis deepening further when President Michel Aoun's mandate expires. (Photo by anwar amro / AFP) (Photo by ANWAR AMRO/AFP via Getty Images)

BEIRUT — The once strong alliance between Lebanon’s Christian Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) and the Shiite Hezbollah movement is now reduced to a frustrated partnership. Neither side is getting what it wants from the other, especially regarding domestic matters.

The fundamental problem that has led these two parties to cross-purposes is the Lebanese presidency, a seat that has been vacant since the end of former President Michel Aoun’s term in October 2022.

Hezbollah supports the presidential candidacy of Suleiman Frangieh who hails from a well-known political family in Lebanon. The FPM and its leader, Gebran Bassil, have thrown their support behind Jihad Azour, an International Monetary Fund official and a former finance minister who is at odds with Hezbollah. The FPM is not completely wed to Azour, however. Bassil has also said he is ready to endorse another candidate — just not Frangieh. 

Is this disagreement between the old allies threatening the memorandum of understanding the two parties signed nearly two decades ago known as the Mar Mikhael Agreement?

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