Franjieh Meets Hariri, Says Won’t Allow Anyone to ‘Subjugate, Penalize’ Marada

Marada Movement chief MP Suleiman Franjieh held talks Wednesday with Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri after which he defiantly announced that he “will not allow anyone to subjugate, penalize or curb the representation” of his movement.

“We exchanged viewpoints and PM-designate Hariri knows that we only wish him success,” Franjieh said after the Center House meeting.

“Hariri understands our stance and he doesn’t accept that our rights be encroached on… Some are accusing us of obstruction, but we have never sought obstruction, and both parties share the responsibility for obstruction,” the Marada chief added.

“We are in agreement with PM-designate Hariri and we proposed a roadmap and things might see a happy ending before the holidays,” Franjieh went on to say.

Reiterating that Marada wants a “key portfolio,” Franjieh noted that his allies are backing his “legitimate demand.”

“Some are rejecting our demands in a bid to subjugate us and curb our representation but no one can subjugate us,” he added.

The meeting was held in the presence of caretaker Culture Minister Rony Araiji who accompanied Franjieh to the Center House as well as Hariri’s advisers Nader Hariri and Ghattas Khoury, Hariri’s office said in a statement.

“The meeting is tackling the latest political developments in the country and will involve a dinner banquet during which the rest of the topics will be discussed, especially the consultations and the efforts that are being exerted to form the government,” the office said.

LBCI television said the meeting was requested by Hariri.

Franjieh’s demand to get a key ministerial portfolio is one of the main declared obstacles that are delaying the formation of the new cabinet.

Franjieh has announced that Marada will not join the new cabinet if it does not get one of three so-called important portfolios – public works, energy or telecommunications.

Speaker Nabih Berri, who is negotiating on behalf of the Hizbullah-led March 8 forces, has backed Franjieh’s demand and insisted that Marada should be represented in the government with an important portfolio.