“The absence of certain MPs in the presidential electoral sessions is not an absolute constitutional right as certain people have claimed,” Geagea said at a press conference after Wednesday’s electoral session was postponed.
“Non-attendance of sessions is a procedure resorted to by the nation’s parliamentarians in exceptional circumstances, where they cannot freely express their opinions.”
“For that exception to turn into general rule, resorted to in normal circumstances… to force the election of a certain president… is a violation of the constitution.” He said
He added: “The true political battle today does not revolve around the concept of ‘ consensual president’ versus ‘ non-consensual president.’ The [real] issue is: either a president from March 8 or a [power] vacuum.”
“Why does March 8 refrain from announcing the name of its presidential candidate? March 8 has never believed in consensus nor ever allowed the logic of consensus to prevail. Would they accept application of consensus to decisions of war and peace, fighting in Syria, or illegal weapons?” A possible reference to Hezbollah’s war in 2006 with Israel and current role in the Syrian civil war
The LF leader went on to say that continued obstruction of elections would lead to “a symbolic president [chosen] by a foreign deal” and called on the Lebanese people and the country’s political and religious authorities to ensure the elections reach a successful conclusion.
Lebanon Parliament failed again on Wednesday to elect a new president to replace Michel Suleiman due to lack of quorum amid warnings of a possible vacuum at Baabda Palace.
Suleiman’s term ends on May 25 and this is the third time in a row that the parliament failed to elect a new president.
Speaker Nabih Berri set May 15 as a new round of voting after the March 8 lawmakers again boycotted the elections.
In the first round of the polls on April 23, Geagea won 48 votes , while centrist nominee Henri Helou won 16 votes and 52 MPs cast blank ballots and then pulled out of the session to make sure there is no quorum for a second round .
March 14 has on several occasions asked the Hezbollah led March 8 to field a candidate , but the alliance so far refused to announce its candidate and is insisting on having a consensus president.
FPM leader MP Michel Aoun is reportedly March 8 undeclared candidate , but according to observers he is far from ever being considered a consensus candidate.
Phalange MP Nadim Gemayel slammed the FPM chief for claiming to be a consensual candidate. He accused him of weakening the Republic and the role of Christians.
Aoun “will take the country to the abyss” if he continues to hold onto his stances, Gemayel said.
National Liberal Party leader MP Dori Chamoun, another key member of March 14 alliance said on Wednesday that Aoun’s ties with the March 8 alliance mean that he cannot be a consensual candidate for Lebanon’s presidency.
“Aoun is not a consensual candidate for the presidency because he is an inseparable part of the March 8 project,” Chamoun told Radio Free Lebanon on Wednesday.
He added: “Aoun signed an agreement with Hezbollah and the Syrians allowing him to return to Lebanon, so I don’t see that there is any difference between them.”