TUE 23 - 7 - 2019
Mar 13, 2019
The Daily Star
Rifi to support Jamali in Tripoli by-election
BEIRUT: Ashraf Rifi will not be running in a Tripoli by-election, instead choosing to back Future Movement candidate Dima Jamali, former Premier Fouad Siniora said Tuesday. Siniora’s remarks, carried by the state-run National News Agency, followed a meeting between Rifi and Prime Minister Saad Hariri at the former premier’s home.
“A new page was turned today,” the prime minister said, according to local media. “We have to close ranks and work to bring Tripoli out of poverty.”
Jamali, who belonged to the parliamentary bloc of the Future Movement, which Hariri heads, was removed from a Sunni seat in Tripoli after the Constitutional Council annulled her election, based on an appeal by failed rival candidate Taha Naji. Naji had run in May’s parliamentary elections on MP Faisal Karami’s National Dignity list.
The by-election is set to be held April 14. Aspirants for the vacant seat can file their candidacy starting Thursday, the Interior Ministry announced Tuesday.
Filing ends at midnight March 29; candidates then have until April 3 to withdraw.
Thus far, only Jamali and Samer Kabbara, the nephew of MP Mohammad Kabbara, have declared their intention to run. Rifi had been expected to announce his candidacy this week.
Naji has not yet said whether or not he will run.
Rifi, a former justice minister and head of the Internal Security Forces, was once a Sunni ally of Hariri’s, but later fell out of grace with the premier, leading him to mount two separate electoral challenges against the Future Movement, in 2016 and 2018. Despite an upset win in the 2016 Tripoli municipal elections, Rifi failed to win any parliamentary seats in 2018.
Rifi is an ardent critic of Hezbollah and has previously accused mainstream Sunni parties, including the Future Movement, of being too close to the Shiite party.
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