Free Patriotic Movement

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Free Patriotic Movement
التيار الوطني الحر
Leader Michel Aoun
Founded 2005
Headquarters Lebanon Rabieh, Beirut, Lebanon
Youth wing FPM Youth and Students Committee
Ideology Lebanese nationalism
Reformism
Liberalism
Political position Centre-left
Religion Secular[1]
National affiliation March 8 Alliance
Parliament of Lebanon
19 / 128
Cabinet of Lebanon
2 / 24
Website
http://www.tayyar.org
Politics of Lebanon
Political parties
Elections

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[edit]

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.

Aoun also contested the Cedar Revolution which itself gave him the opportunity to come back to Lebanon.

2005 Elections and rise of the FPM[edit]

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.[2]

Memorandum of Understanding between the FPM and Hezbollah[edit]

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[edit]

On 1 December 2006,[3] 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.[4] 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[edit]

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.

2009 Elections[edit]

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 than in 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[edit]

In November 2009, the Free Patriotic Movement nominated five ministers to join the first government headed by Saad Hariri. The five ministers included:

OTV[edit]

Main article: OTV (Lebanon)

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[edit]

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:

Ministers without Portfolios:

2014 Government formation[edit]

In February 2014, the Change and Reform bloc led by Michel Aoun nominated four ministers to join the national unity government headed by Prime Minister Tammam Salam. The Free Patriotic Movement had two ministers:

Notes[edit]

External links[edit]