Murr, Gemayel unveil March 14 Forces electoral list for northern Metn

Murr, Gemayel unveil March 14 Forces electoral list for northern Metn
LF candidates file complaint before the election supervision committee

MP Michel Murr and former President Amin Gemayel announced on Monday the March 14 Forces” list in northern Metn district for the June 7 parliamentary polls. The list includes Sami Gemayel and Elie Karameh representing the Phalange Party, Eddy Abi Lamaa representing the Lebanese Forces (LF), and independent candidates Sarkis Sarkis, Elias Mokheiber, Emile Kenaan and Murr.

Murr said in a speech that the list would seek to "meet the needs of all Metn residents." He also thanked previous parliamentary candidates Pierre Achkar and Antoine Haddad for pulling out of the electoral race for the benefit of what he called the "Metn Salvation List."

Gemayel said the Metn list "represents those who struggled and made sacrifices for the sake of Lebanon”s independence, sovereignty and freedom."

Phalange Central Committee Coordinator Sami Gemayel said the list”s political platform was focused on ending foreign interference in Lebanon, maintaining the country”s democratic system and supporting the Maronite patriarch and the president.

Earlier in the day, Maronite candidate for the northern Metn district, Pierre Achkar, withdrew his candidacy. In a statement issued Monday, Achkar said he decided to withdraw from the electoral race out of concern for fair representation of other candidates.

In a separate development, President Michel Sleiman will start an official visit to the UK on Tuesday, during which he will meet with British officials. Media reports said Sleiman”s visit would also include a meeting with Queen Elizabeth II.

Sleiman will head a delegation which includes Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh, Economy and Trade Minister Mohammad Safadi and Health Minister Jawad Khalifeh.

Meanwhile, the LF said Monday its candidates in the Chouf, Bsharri, Koura, Batroun, Metn, Beirut”s first district, Zahrani and Baalbek, filed a complaint before the election supervision committee against Hizbullah”s Al-Manar and FPM”s OTV television channels. In a statement Monday, the LF said the two TV stations violated Article 68 of the parliamentary electoral law, by committing libel and slander against the party.

It added that the channels "spread false information and distorted facts regarding the Lebanese Forces."

Meanwhile, Berri met on Monday with US Ambassador to Lebanon Michel Sison. Discussions focused on the situation in Lebanon. Sison also met with Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.

Siniora said on Monday that Sidon residents would choose their representatives on June 7, adding that the Future Movement was not seeking to eliminate the role of other parties.

During a massive gathering held in the Sidon town of Majdelyoun late Sunday in the presence of Education Minister Bahia Hariri, Siniora stressed the Future Movement”s electoral program in Sidon which he said was focused on the development of education, economy, society and environment.

Sources close to Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya told The Daily Star Monday that talks with the Future Movement were frozen, adding that the group was upset at recent statements by MP Saad Hariri, in which he said Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya electoral size did not allow them to have two seats in Parliament.

The group”s candidate in Sidon, Ali Sheikh Ammar, said that in the 2005 elections, the percentage of the group”s voters ranged between 25 and 35 percent in the different Lebanese areas. "There are other political forces in the Lebanese arena  … and we have plenty of time to decide," he added.

Youth and Sports Minister Talal Arslan said Monday the opposition”s list in Aley would be announced Friday. Following a meeting with members of his Lebanese Democratic Party, he stressed the importance of partnership and reconciliation in that district.

He added that reconciliation he forged with Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt in May 2008 prevented strife and "organized the political conflict" between them.

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