Free Patriotic Movement
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|Free Patriotic Movement
التيار الوطني الحر
|Founded||Founded in Lebanon, officially declared in 2005|
|Headquarters||Rabieh — Beirut, Lebanon|
|Youth wing||FPM Youth and Students Committee|
|National affiliation||Change and Reform bloc|
|Parliament of Lebanon|
|Cabinet of Lebanon|
|Politics of Lebanon
The Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) (Arabic: التيار الوطني الحر, at-Tayyār al-Waṭanī al-Horr), also known as the Aounist party (Arabic: التيار العوني, at-Tayyār awne), is a Lebanese political party, led by General Michel Aoun. It is the second largest party in Lebanon's parliament (after the Future Movement) and the largest party in the Christian half of the parliament. It has 19 out of the 128 seats in parliament (of which 64 seats represent Christians).
The FPM is the main party of the March 8 Alliance, which includes Amal (13 seats), Hezbollah (12 seats), and the Progressive Socialist Party (7 seats), as well as seven other minor parliamentary parties (who between them have 16 seats).
The FPM party promotes the rights of Lebanese expatriate and a relatively high minimum wage. The party's support base is overwhelmingly from Lebanon's Christian community, but includes a small number of Shia Muslims. A central figure in the movement is General Michel Aoun.
Aoun return from Exile
For many years, while Aoun was exiled in Paris, he led the FPM from abroad. He returned to Lebanon on 7 May 2005 after the Cedar Revolution forced the withdrawal of the Syrian forces, and then contested the legislative elections held in late May in early June although it placed him on the head of the largest Christian group of deputies.
2005 Elections and rise of the FPM
At the time of the 2005 elections, the FPM came up with a detailed political program which contained economic and political reform plans and gained the support of many Lebanese Christians. The FPM won 21 seats in the parliament, and formed the second biggest bloc in the Lebanese Parliament. Being the leading Christian bloc after the election, it joined the March 8 Alliance.
Memorandum of Understanding between the FPM and Hezbollah
In 2006, the FPM signed a memorandum of understanding with Hezbollah organizing their relation and discussing Hezbollah's disarmament, given some conditions. The second and third conditions for disarmament were the return of Lebanese prisoners from Israeli jails and the elaboration of a defense strategy to protect Lebanon from the Israeli threat. The agreement also discussed the importance of having normal diplomatic relations with Syria and the request for information about the Lebanese political prisoners in Syria and the return of all political prisoners and diaspora in Israel.
2006 Lebanese Anti-Government Protest
On 1 December 2006, Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun declared to a crowd of protesters that the current government of Lebanon was unconstitutional, claiming that the government had "made corruption a daily affair" and called for the resignation on the government. Hundred of thousands of supporters of this party, Amal Movement, and Hezbollah, according to the Internal Security Forces (ISF), gathered at Downtown Beirut trying to force Fouad Siniora to abdicate.
2008 Government formation
On 11 July 2008, FPM members, Issam Abu Jamra as deputy-prime minister, Gebran Bassil as minister of telecommunications, and Mario Aoun as minister of social affairs were appointed to the cabinet. It was the Movement's first participation in the Lebanese Government.
Despite the strong media and political war against the Free Patriotic Movement, the results of the 2009 Elections granted the FPM 27 parliamentary seats. These results showed dis-improvement within the Christian votes, but despite this the FPM's bloc is the second largest in the Lebanese parliament. Based on statistics,FPM has lost about 25% of his popularity within the Christian vote in order to spread throughout the country at various ethnic groups of the Lebanese people . He now only represents around 53% of Christians. The FPM gained 7 more seats then the 2005 elections, earning at least triple the number of deputies of any other Christian-based bloc in the parliament due to geographical distribution. The total seats won were 57 out of 128, which led to a defeat for the FPM.
2009 Government formation
In November 2009, the Free Patriotic Movement nominated five ministers to join the first government headed by Saad Hariri. The five ministers included:
- Gebran Bassil as Minister of Power
- Charbel Nahas as Minister of Telecommunications
- Youssef Saade as Minister of State
- Abraham Dadayan as Minister of Industry
- Fadi Abboud as Minister of Tourism
The Free Patriotic Movement launched its own broadcasting channel (OTV) on 20 July 2007, and their own radio station called Sawt Al Mada (voice of scope in English) on 1 June 2009.
2011 Government formation
In June 2011, the Change and Reform bloc led by Aoun nominated eleven ministers to join the second government headed by Najib Mikati, gaining more than double the share they had in the former government The eleven ministers are:
Ministers with Portfolios:
- Shakib Qortbawi as Minister of Justice
- Fayez Ghosn as Minister of Defense
- Gebran Bassil as Minister of Energy
- Nicolas Sehnaoui as Minister of Telecommunications
- Vrej Sabounjian as Minister of Industry
- Fadi Aboud as Minister of Tourism
- Charbel Nahas as Minister of Labour
- Gaby Layoun as Minister of Culture
- Marwan Charbel as Minister of Interior and Municipalities (merge power between Aoun and Michel Suleiman)
Ministers without Portfolios:
- Haddad, Simon (2009). "Lebanon: From Consociationalism to Conciliation". Nationalism and Ethnic Politics 15 (3-4). Retrieved 13 March 2013.
- MPLBelgique (1 December 2011). "Rétrospective – Retour sur le mouvement d’opposition au gouvernement Siniora… où joie et bonne humeur contrastent avec la haine prônée aujourd’hui par le clan Hariri".
- Huge Beirut rally demands change, BBC, 1 December 2006
- Free Patriotic Movement - official website
- Free Patriotic Movement Message Boards (Official Forum)
- FLF in Germany: Freiheitlichen Libanesischen Freundeskreis e.V. German version of the FPM website.
- CPL en France : Rassemblement pour le Liban
- CPL en Belgique : Mouvement pour le Liban
- FPM political platform (in English)
- Memorandum of Joint Understanding between Hezbollah and the Free Patriotic Movement
- Charter of the Free Patriotic Movement Party