No President in Sight as Rivals Fail Again to Voteإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Lawmakers once again failed to elect a successor to President Michel Suleiman who will leave Baabda Palace on Sunday with a vacant seat in the country's top Christian post.
The fifth round of the elections on Thursday was similar to its predecessors. The majority of March 8 alliance's MPs boycotted it, claiming that the rival parties should agree on a consensual candidate before heading to parliament to elect a new head of state.
Berri told MPs, who were present at parliament, however, that the electoral session will be open-ended until the expiry of Suleiman's term.
There are fears that a vacuum in Baabda would affect Lebanon's power-sharing system under which the president should be a Christian Maronite, the speaker a Shiite and the premier a Sunni.
Suleiman has made a plea to MPs to elect a president and “avert the dangers” that could result from the failure to do so.
Similar appeals have been made by Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi.
MP Alain Aoun said the Change and Reform bloc would issue a statement on Monday on ways to deal with the stage of vacuum.
The bloc, which is led by Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun, is part of the Hizbullah-led March 8 coalition, that has been boycotting the parliamentary sessions.
His rival Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea, who is the March 14 alliance's sole candidate, received the votes of only 48 MPs in the first round of the elections after the March 8 MPs cast 52 blank ballots to protest his candidacy.
The LF leader's wife, MP Sethrida Geagea, wondered during a press conference she held in parliament what sort of democracy lawmakers were practicing.
She said they were not exercising their national duties and accused Aoun of striking Lebanon's power sharing system and the Taef accord.
Another LF MP, George Adwan, warned against the consequences of the paralysis.
“Does obstructing quorum adhere to” power sharing? he asked.
In another short press conference, presidential candidate centrist MP Henri Helou reiterated his call for the election of a president who does not provoke any of the rival parties.
But Change and Reform MP Ibrahim Kanaan, snapped back, telling reporters in parliament that the FPM was not seeking to impose a candidate.
“No one can impose their candidate on anyone,” he said.