Parliament fails again to elect a president


Lebanese Parliament 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.

Last Sunday president Suleiman called for turning the May 7 presidential vote into an “opportunity for accord and dialogue, unlike what happened on May 7, 2008,” warning against “dragging the country into a constituent assembly.”

He was referring to the clashes that erupted o this same day in 2008, when gunmen belonging to Hezbollah and its allies occupied the western part of Beirut and tried but failed to occupy Mt Lebanon at a great loss of life.

“Those concerned with the survival of the entity and the political system must realize that the election of a president cannot happen through obstructing quorum, but rather through implementing the constitution,” Suleiman stressed.

In the first round of the polls on April 23, Lebanese Forces leader Samir 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 M8 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.”



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