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mikati-resignsFormer Prime Minister Najib Miqati on Monday slammed  Free Patriotic Movement chief MP Michel Aoun’s proposals  to end the presidential impasse, by calling  it a “coup.”

“The proposal put forward by General Michel Aoun to amend the constitution to elect a president by the people and to allow each sect to vote for its own MPs at parliament is a real coup,” Miqati said in a released statement.

He explained that the coup is not only against the Lebanese Constitution and the Taef Accord, but also against “the political path General Aoun has taken since returning to Lebanon and participating in all governments and parliamentary elections.”

“We call on General Aoun and all politicians who are keen on the country(‘s interests) to meet. Enough with disputes, divisions and fragmentation.” Mikati said.

Similarly the Phalange  Party  which is  headed by former Lebanese president Amin Gemayel slammed Aoun’s proposals to end the country’s deadlock over the presidential and parliamentary elections, calling them “impossible” demands.

The party  said after its weekly politburo meeting: “Ending the crisis does not require impossible proposals, which will only exacerbate the situation.”

“Out of our keenness on the rights of all sects and in order to achieve fair power-sharing, why shouldn’t Aoun’s suggestions be implemented for the election of a prime minister and parliament speaker?” it wondered.

According to the constitution the president should be a Christian Maronite, The prime minister a Muslim Sunni and the Speaker a Muslim Shiite

The four Christian leaders during a meeting at Bkirki last March
The four Christian leaders during a meeting at Bkirki last March

The  Phalange  party noted that any solution to the crisis requires calm and that all members of the national dialogue attend the all-party talks.

“This however is not possible as long as a party is engaged in conflicts outside of Lebanon,” remarked the Phalange party  in reference to Hezbollah’s involvement  in the war in Syria.

Earlier today Aoun called  for amending the constitution to allow the voters to directly cast ballots for the head of state in an attempt to resolve the presidential deadlock.

He was  proposing that the election of the head of state to be done in two stages,  to avoid the same scenarios that parliamentary sessions are witnessing.

Aoun, who launched his initiative during a press conference he held at his residence in Rabieh stressed that his proposal would “free the presidential elections from external factors.”

He suggested that in the first stage, Christian voters should choose two candidates, and in the second stage, all Lebanese citizens would vote to pick  on of the two.

Aoun linked  his proposal to the parliamentary electoral law .

He said that his initiative should be linked to the so-called Orthodox Gathering electoral draft law, in which citizens would only  vote for MPs of their own sect.

“We should approve an electoral law so that each sect chooses its  own MPs, which would strengthen tranquility and stability,” he said adding ” “Claims that such electoral law would entrench sectarianism are wrong.”

Aoun criticized the Taef accord

Everyone knows that there are gaps in the implementation of the Taef Accord,” he said
“Consecutive electoral laws have given Christians the right to elect only 17 of their MPs,” he stressed.

Parliament failed to elect a president

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

The vote could not be held in all the sessions because lawmakers allied with the Iranian backed Hezbollah militant group boycotted the voting for lack of agreement on a consensus president.

Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri adjourned the last session to elect a new president to July 2 .

There are serious concerns that a prolonged 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.

After Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea  secured 48 votes last April 23, the Hezbollah led March 8 alliance including Aoun and  and Marada Movement leader Suleiman 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 5 other sessions that followed .

Both Aoun and Franjieh boycotted all the session that followed .

Aoun has not announced his candidacy but he aspires to become a consensual nominee
“I will announce my nomination when the political situation in parliament becomes clear and when (the current candidates) are dismissed,” Aoun said last week

“It is totally rejected to choose the weakest Christian as president and I will not tolerate this,” he said in reference Geagea without naming him.

“I’m the strongest and I’m the one who represents (the Christians). My popularity is on the rise,” he added.

Both Aoun and Geagea consider themselves the strongest Christian leaders .

Despite his claims, Aoun’s rivals in the March 14 camp have refused to withdraw their support for Geagea, who was the first to announce his candidacy.

On the eve of the Syrian presidential elections Syrian president Basher al Assad threw his support behind Aoun  for presidency  and on  June 17 Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdel Karim Ali voiced his support for Aoun .

“As long as the coalition that is close to our political line supports Aoun, then we too consider Aoun to be a friend of Syria’s, who believed in Syria’s victory over the crisis.”

He ruled out the possibility of Geagea becoming the president .

“We will certainly not even consider the possibility of Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea’s arrival to the presidency, I do not think that this is [even] possible. Geagea never was and never will be our presidential candidate,” he added

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