The Lebanese parliament failed again today and for the 38th time in a row to elect a president to replace Michel Suleiman whose term ended on May 25 , 2014.
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 session, because they could not reportedly guarantee Aoun’s election as a president
Speaker Nabih Berri a key ally of Hezbollah postponed the election to May 10, 2016
LBCI television said that 53 lawmakers out of 128 were present at Monday’s session
It added that none of the heads of parliamentary blocs attended.
Telecommunications Minister Butros Harb, who was present at the session, slammed the “shameful” failure to elect a head of state, saying that he came to parliament because he has a “constitutional role to fulfill.”
He reiterated his proposal for a constitutional amendment to tackle electoral sessions, saying that he is in the process of garnering the needed signatures to ratify it.
The draft-law demands that MPs attend electoral sessions and those who fail to do so for three consecutive sessions will automatically have their right to vote for a president revoked. He clarified that the MP will not lose his seat in parliament.
Another proposal in the draft-law calls for reducing the quorum during the third electoral session from two-thirds of MPs to a simple majority.
The 3 presidential candidates are Change and Reform bloc head MP Michel Aoun, Marada Movement chief MP Suleiman Franjieh, and Democratic Gathering MP Henri Helou. Both Aoun and Franjieh are from the Hezbollah-led March 8 alliance
Hezbollah announced earlier this year that it would boycott electoral sessions until it receives guarantees that its ally, Aoun, is elected head of state.
Harb branded Hezbollah’s stance as “shameful,” adding that it contradicts democracy.
Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea blamed Hezbollah on Friday for the country’s problems and vowed to step up efforts to get the country out of the present situation.
“The status-quo that we are witnessing will continue as along as Hezbollah assigns more priority to the regional interests that it believes are more important that Lebanon,” said Geagea.
“Lebanon’s economy and development are Hezbollah ‘s last concern. It only cares about the Iranian Republic and carries out what suits it even if it means sending our youth to die in Syria and Yemen,” added the LF chief.
“We are working day and night in order to get out of this situation. We made a substantial step when we reconciled with the Free Patriotic Movement and we will step up our efforts to get the country out of the present mess .”
Geagea who was the first to announce his candidacy decided to back Aoun in order end the current impasse , but Hezbollah and Iran , according to analysts do not want a president for Lebanon at this stage despite the fact that they have the votes to guarantee Aoun’s election.
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