Bkirki Rejects Constitutional Amendment Ahead of Presidential Elections

Bkirki is engaged in a battle to elect a new head of state only and rejects to interfere in details that impede the poll as the Maronite Patriarch is holding onto his decision that all matters should be postponed until the parliament selects a president.

A source close to Bkirki refused to comment on Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun's proposal.

The source stressed in comments published in al-Joumhouria on Tuesday that Bkirki is only interested in carrying out the presidential poll.

Aoun called on Monday for a constitutional amendment that would allow the people to elect their head of state in an attempt to resolve the presidential deadlock.

According to An Nahar newspaper, Bkirki deems any constitutional amendment ahead of the election of a new president as void.

Sources told the newspaper that all suggestions will be discussed after the presidential poll is staged as the priority is to fill the vacancy at the Baabda Palace.

Aoun's initiative states that the parliament should carry out a “limited constitutional amendment,” allowing Lebanese citizens to elect the head of state in two rounds to avoid the same scenarios that parliamentary sessions are witnessing.

Parliament has failed in several rounds to elect a successor to President Michel Suleiman, whose six-year term expired on May 25 after the March 8 and 14 alliances failed to agree on a compromise candidate.

The majority of the March 8 camp's MPs, including the lawmakers of Aoun's Change and Reform bloc, have boycotted the sessions, leading to a lack of the needed two-thirds quorum.

Aoun said that his proposal lies in allowing only Christians to vote for their candidates in the first round that would pave way for both Muslims and Christians to choose the two candidates who received the majority of votes in the first round.

Al-Joumhouria newspaper reported that Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi is seeking to hold a wide Christian conference soon, to press parties to carry out their national duty and elect a new president.

The FPM chief has refused to announce his candidacy, claiming there should be consensus on him first. But the March 14 alliance, has backed the candidacy of his rival Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea.

Both Maronite leaders claim that they represent the majority of the country's Christians.

Under the National Pact of 1943, the president should be a Maronite, the speaker a Shiite and the premier a Sunni.



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