Launched on Monday, the initiative of the leader of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), Gebran Bassil, which is in line with that of the Amal-Hezbollah tandem for unlocking the presidential deadlock, has raised strong reservations within opposition circles. However, it enjoys the support of the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP), which is engaged in a mediation mission following similar lines.

Ghassan Hasbani, MP of the Lebanese Forces and former Deputy Prime Minister, warned on Thursday against establishing “new norms” within the framework of the presidential election process.

According to him, such an act “contravenes the Constitution, regardless of the pretexts put forward to mitigate its seriousness,” noted Hasbani, who alluded to the current political pressure for a dialogue led by the Speaker of Parliament, Nabih Berri, preceding any electoral meeting.

Hasbani’s remarks come in the wake of Gebran Bassil’s attempt to adopt a centrist position while advocating for dialogue and shifting the blame onto the opposition. Like the tandem, the leader of the FPM criticized them for obstructing the process of electing a new president.

On his X account, Hasbani reminded “those attempting to ignore the Constitution” that unlocking the presidential deadlock “involves summoning MPs to an electoral meeting with successive rounds until the election of a president in accordance with the legal texts.” He specified that “parliamentary consultations are possible between rounds, in case the electoral process is prolonged.” However, the MP warned against any disruption of the vote during this process. This means that “there would be attempts to impose conditions before holding the elections,” he cautioned.

Meanwhile, Wael Abou Faour, MP of the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP), whose bloc has also launched an initiative based on dialogue advocated by Nabih Berri, believes that “Gebran Bassil is trying to position himself as an intermediary and present himself as the Christian pole capable of bringing together the various stakeholders.”

He spoke of a “common logic” with the leader of the FPM, “according to which dialogue should be conducted under the leadership of the Speaker of Parliament, Nabih Berri.” The latter, according to Bou Faour, “holds the key to a way out of the crisis.” In an interview with the local channel, LBCI, the MP indicated that “the PSP’s tour has ended, and evaluation meetings are planned for next week with Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Berri.”

In this regard, the FPM’s tour has also ended. Bassil met on Thursday with Hezbollah parliamentary chief, MP Mohammad Raad. He will make a final assessment later in the afternoon on Thursday.

According to Bou Faour, “during the dialogue, several candidate names can be proposed before the MPs make the final decision,” especially since “any non-consensual president will not be able to govern.”

He, therefore, emphasized “conditional flexibility,” manifested by the leader of the Kataeb, Samy Gemayel. “Opposition political forces have the right to demand guarantees for the holding of successive rounds,” he said, before sounding the alarm about the need to quickly find a solution to the political crisis, lest “the Quintet (Saudi Arabia, the United States, France, Qatar, and Egypt) no longer prioritize Lebanon and turn their back on it.”