Lebanese parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said the election of new president was necessary but will not sufficient to solve the country’s many issues such as the passage of a new electoral law and the Syrian refugee crisis.
Berri who vowed not to vote for FPM founder MP Michel Aoun said that he hoped a new head of state would be elected on Oct. 31.
He made the remarks Monday night during a dinner banquet hosted by Lebanon’s U.N. Ambassador in Geneva, Najla Assaker.
“We hope that we achieve this step, because Lebanon is in dire need of it, without becoming sensitive – which we tend to do – and which has delayed our matters to the point where we have been without a president for 30 months,” Berri said.
Describing efforts to overcome the challenges following the election of a new president , Berri called on politicians to try to end secterianism in the country.
He also renewed calls for an agreement on a new and “fair” electoral law to replace the current so called 1960 law, which is being opposed by several political groups .
He also voiced concern about the growing number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon, which he said posed a danger to the country’s economic, educational and social sectors.
“All these issues are waiting for solutions, and so we need to revive the institutions which we have delayed ourselves,” he added.
Lebanon has been without a president for more than two years, part of a political crisis that has resulted in a breakdown in many basic services and concerns about the country’s stability.
Members of parliament will vote on a president on Oct 31 after former prime minister Saad al-Hariri said on Thursday he would back Aoun as president, part of a deal in which he is expected to again be appointed as prime minister.
Lebanon’s dominant movement, Shiite Hezbollah, is allied to Aoun and its leader Hassan Nasrallah said on Sunday his members of parliament would vote for him in the election.
In Lebanon, after a president is elected he or she must consult with the members of parliament before appointing a prime minister tasked with forming a government, something that the speaker, Berri, said on Monday he believed would take months.
“If al-Hariri is entrusted with forming a government, and we reach its formation, I believe it will take at least five to six months,” Berri was reported as saying in an interview with the daily al-Safir.
Berri, parliament speaker since 1992, is the head of Amal, a Shiite party allied with Hezbollah, but he opposes Aoun’s nomination. Hariri, head of the Future Movement, is Lebanon’s main Sunni politician and only recently decided to back Aoun in order to end the presidential impasse