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?