Prolonged Vacuum as MPs Fail Again to Elect New President

Lawmakers failed on Wednesday for the seventh time to elect a new president as differences between the rival parties seemed not to be abating.

Speaker Nabih Berri postponed the session to July 2 to fill the seat of the country's top Christian post at Baabda Palace.

Berri said in remarks published in local dailies on Wednesday that he had continuously warned against the non-election of a president, a reminiscent of 20 sessions held in 2007 and 2008 that ended in failure.

The failure to choose a successor to President Michel Suleiman, whose term expired on May 25, is the result of the boycott of the majority of March 8 alliance's MPs.

Free Patriotic Moment chief MP Michel Aoun, whose Change and Reform bloc is among those who caused lack of quorum in parliament, has said he would run for the presidency if there was consensus on him.

“I will announce my nomination when the political situation in parliament becomes clear and when (the current candidates) are dismissed,” Aoun said on Tuesday.

“It is totally rejected to choose the weakest Christian as president and I will not tolerate this,” he said about Lebanese Forces chief Samir 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.

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.

Several March 14 MPs snapped back at Aoun in remarks to reporters in parliament.

LF MP Elie Kairouz said the country's Christians need a man of “struggle” and a person who holds onto his stances, “not a man of contradiction in positions and choices.”

Causing a vacuum at Baabda Palace is similar to the political displacement of Christians, he added.



Copyright © 2012 All Rights Reserved.