Geagea Expresses Concern Presidential Deadlock Impeding Cabinet, Parliament

Lebanese Forces leader MP Samir Geagea voiced concern on Monday that the presidential vacuum is effecting the work of the cabinet and the parliament, describing it as a “crime” against the Lebanese.

“Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi's stance is righteous to press for a solution but things should be named as they are,” Geagea said, noting that parties should be held responsible for the delay in electing a new head of state.

On Sunday, al-Rahi lamented the presidential impasse, stressing that he rejects the “tragic” situation that has reached its peak.

He called on officials, in particular lawmakers, to assume their constitutional duties.

The Christian leader and presidential hopeful said in remarks published in al-Mustaqbal newspaper that all parliamentary blocs are attending sessions set to elect a new president except for the Change and Reform and Loyalty to the Resistance blocs.

“Both blocs are impeding the polls for various reasons,” Geagea pointed out.

He expressed concern that presidential vacuum is negatively impacting the government and the parliament.

Lebanon has been plunged in vacuum in the presidency since the term of President Michel Suleiman ended in May.

Eight presidential elections sessions have been held, seven of which were obstructed due to a lack of quorum at parliament caused by a boycott by the March 8 lawmakers of the Change and Reform and Loyalty to the Resistance blocs over differences on a presidential candidate.

The next elections session is scheduled for July 23.

Asked about the recent row among cabinet members over a dispute on the appointment of deans at the Lebanese University, Geagea said: “For this reason we refused to participate in this government... Differences between the ministers didn't surprise us.”

“Two teams with each having its own political plan can not agree,” he said.

Geagea considered the “problem to be in the structure.”

The cabinet members reached an agreement on Thursday on the full-time employment of LU's contract workers but failed to strike a deal on the appointment of deans over differences between Kataeb and the Progressive Socialist Party on their sects.

Cabinet decrees require the approval of its 24 ministers in accordance with an agreement reached last month in light of the vacuum at Baabda Palace.

Concerning the arrest of a suspect linked to the launching of rockets from South Lebanon towards Israel, Geagea wondered why those who fired thousands of rockets at Israel weren't also detained.

“No one has the right to set the country's military and defense strategies, which should concern all the Lebanese people,” the LF leader in hints to Hizbullah's intervention in Syria's raging war.

Security forces managed to arrest at a western Bekaa hospital one of the militants behind Friday's attack, after he was seriously injured while firing the rockets.

Geagea said that those who launched over the weekend rockets at Israel should be detained but everyone violating the country's security should also be apprehended.

Two rockets were fired Sunday night from southern Lebanon towards Israel, in the third such attack in four days, drawing an Israeli retaliation.

Israel had filed a complaint to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which monitors the border between Lebanon and Israel, after Friday's attack.

Israeli military officials said they believed the attack was carried out by a small Palestinian group in an act of solidarity with militants from Gaza's Hamas movement engaged in a deadly confrontation with the Israeli army which began on Tuesday.



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