MP calls on M14 Christians to agree on 1 presidential candidate


president 2014 lebanonBEIRUT , Lebanon- Future Movement bloc MP Atef Majdalani urged the Christian parties of the March 14 coalition to agree on one presidential candidate, in remarks published Saturday in Kuwaiti newspaper As-Seyassah.

“All the names and candidates of the March 14 coalition have the competence and capability to bear the responsibility of the president’s seat,” Majdalani was quoted as saying.

Majdalani also noted that, eventually, the March 14 coalition would choose one candidate for the elections if phalange Party leader Amin Gemayel announced his candidacy alongside Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea’s candidacy.

“There is disparity in points of view, but not a disagreement, among the March 14 coalition parties,” he stressed.

Former Lebanese president and current phalange Party leader Amin Gemayel is expected to announce his candidacy for the President of the Republic in the coming days, Labor Minister Sejaan Azzi said in remarks published Thursday.

Lebanon Speaker Nabih Berri sounded skeptical over the parliamentary session set to elect a president will be held, pointing out that the conditions to ensure its success are “not ripe yet “and expressed his hope that former PM Saad Hariri will attend the session, according to a report by As Safir newspaper on Friday.

“At this point in time the conditions may not be ripe , but that does not mean that they will not be (ripe) before next Wednesday.” Berri said.

The speaker had called on the MPs to meet at the parliament on April 23 to elect a new president to replace Michel Suleiman.

The constitution stipulates that between March 25 and May 15, the parliament can convene at any time to elect a new president.

Berri has stipulated that any candidate must secure two-thirds of votes to win in the first round of elections and half-plus-one or 65 votes of the 128-member parliament to win in the second round.

A new Lebanese president faces massive security and economic challenges, most of them related to the spillover from the civil war raging in neighboring Syria.