After 23 election sessions Lebanon is still without a president

Baabda presidential chair  awaits the new occupant of the palace
Baabda presidential chair awaits the new occupant of the palace

The Lebanese parliament failed today and for the 23rd  time in a row to elect a president to replace Michel Suleiman whose term ended on May 25.

As in the past sessions the parliament was unable to reach a quorum because the Iranian backed Hezbollah militant group and its ally MP Michel Aoun’s Change and Reform bloc MPs boycotted the sessions.

Speaker Nabih Berri who is allied with Hezbollah and Aoun postponed  the election to June 3 , 2015 .

Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea  who was the first to announce his presidential candidacy said during a press conference he held in Maarab  following the postponement that “the one-year battle on the presidency proves it is one of the strongest posts in the republic.”

He blamed Hezbollah for the vacuum at the country’s top Christian post, saying the party has been insisting on backing a single candidate, in reference to Aoun, and not making compromises.

“Hezbollah’s top priority is the region’s crisis and not Lebanon,” he said.

“The failure of the Christians to agree on a candidate does not provide an excuse for Hezbollah  to continue its boycott of sessions,” said Geagea.

According to an observer   unless the constitution is amended this kind of scenario could be repeated in any future election of a president . The observer suggests  that the constitution  should be changed to force MPs to show up at the parliament  to  vote whichever way they want  or, strip any MP  of his or her  credentials if he/she  doesn’t show up to elect a president. If all fails then the parliament should be dissolved .

According to media reports Lebanon will not get a president before Iran gets its nuclear deal  from the west in June  . The reports indicate that Hezbollah is awaiting a green light from its backer Iran before  it sends its MPS to the parliament .

The reports stressed   that Iran is using Hezbollah and Lebanon’s election to put pressure on the west to secure a favorable deal.