The Lebanese parliament failed for the ninth 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.
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 adjourned the session to elect a new president to August 12 , 2014
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.
Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea held a press conference in which he accused the lawmakers of obstructing the elections and violating their duties towards the people who elected them.
“We have exerted all possible legitimate efforts to stage the polls. We will not surrender or despair.” He said
“The elections will be held. This may take time, but it is better than doing nothing,” he stressed.
He accused Hezbollah of obstructing the elections for the sake of Iran’s interests
“Hezbollah is obstructing the elections to achieve Iranian interests.” He said.
He also accused Change and Reform of being behind Hezbollah’s efforts to make sure its leader MP Michel Aoun is elected as the president .
“The main internal factor in obstructing the polls is the Change and Reform bloc’s desire to see MP Michel Aoun as president.” He said
“The other camp’s mentality does not respect democracy, the country, people, presidency and logic,” he added.
“We would not have been upset over the vacuum had there been legitimate reasons for it, however, obstructing the elections in this manner is unjustified,” he stressed.
Furthermore, he criticized the “insolence” of proposing a constitutional amendment at such a critical time.
“The constitutional amendment proposal is aimed at improving one’s negotiation options,” Geagea said in reference to Change and Reform bloc chief MP Michel Aoun’s suggestion that the president be elected directly by the people.
“We could have held the elections and later addressed the constitutional amendment,” Geagea added
After Geagea secured 48 votes last April 23, the Hezbollah led March 8 alliance including MP Michel Aoun and MP 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 sessions 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 month
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