Lebanon parliament fails again to elect new president


Lebanese ParliamentThe Lebanese parliament failed for the fifth time in a row to hold a session to elect the country’s new president to replace Michel Suleiman whose terms ends on May 25.

As in the previous sessions , the vote could not be held as lawmakers allied with the Iranian backed Hezbollah militant group boycotted the voting for lack of agreement on a consensus president.

Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said parliament would keep its doors open until the end of Suleiman’s term on midnight Saturday in case the feuding political factions come to a last-minute agreement.

There are serious concerns that a vacuum at the Baabda presidential place would affect Lebanon’s power-sharing system under which the president should be a Christian Maronite, the speaker a Shiite and the PM a Sunni.

President Suleiman has made a plea to MPs to elect a president and “avert the dangers” that could result from the failure to do so.

Similar appeals have been made by Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rai who urged the parliament on Wednesday to rise to the level of the expectations of the Lebanese people through electing a new president, considering that closing the door of the Baabda presidential palace is a “shame.”

According to Bkirki sources the top 4 Maronite leaders( FPM leader Michel Aoun, Marada leader Suleiman Franjieh, Phalange party leader Amin Gemayel and Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea ) agreed last March to facilitate the election of the president .

After Geagea secured 48 votes last April 23, the Hezbollah led March 8 alliance including Aoun and Franjieh walked out from the parliament to make sure there was no quorum to elect a president. They continued their boycott of the parliament during the 3 other sessions that followed .

Both Aoun and Franjieh boycotted Thursday’s session

Aoun has not announced his candidacy but he aspires to become a consensual nominee and has reportedly been begging the Future Movement to back him , but so far the movement is sticking with Geagea.