8th Electoral Session Postponed as Country's Political Crisis Expandsإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Lawmakers failed in the eighth consecutive round on Wednesday to elect a new head of state, widening the country's political crisis and threatening the upcoming parliamentary elections.
Speaker Nabih Berri set a new session for July 23 after the legislative session on the election of a president was marred by lack of quorum caused by a large number of boycotting MPs.
The rival lawmakers have so far failed to choose a successor for President Michel Suleiman, who left Baabda Palace at the end of his term on May 25, over differences on a compromise candidate.
The March 14 alliance has backed Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea. But the March 8 camp has refused to announce its candidate despite its call for a “strong” president.
Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun, who is a March 8 official, has said he would only announce his candidacy if there was consensus on him.
He further complicated the political process on Monday when he called for a constitutional amendment to allow direct elections in two rounds.
MP Alain Aoun, from the FPM chief's Change and Reform bloc, said during a press conference at parliament that the proposal gives justice to all confessions.
“The factions have only two options – either to implement the Taef Accord fully or to amend it - or else we will continue to have crises,” he warned.
The proposal would resolve the problem of balance of power in state institutions and the representation of Christians, the lawmaker said.
But Aoun's initiative has been widely rejected by March 14 officials and the centrist Progressive Socialist Party of MP Walid Jumblat.
LF MP Elie Kairouz snapped back at Alain Aoun, saying the proposal leads to a “fundamental change in the (political) system.”
He accused the March 8 alliance of paralyzing parliament, rather than attending the sessions to elect a president.
The wife of the LF chief, MP Sethrida Geagea, also wondered whether Aoun made his proposal because he wasn't able to get elected.
Health Minister Wael Abou Faour, who is a PSP official, told MTV that the details and the timing of the initiative were not appropriate.
The continued failure to choose a president led to repeated warnings by Berri, who was quoted as saying on Wednesday that the parliamentary elections are approaching and the situation looks totally blocked.
The parliament's four-year mandate has been extended for 17 months till November 2014 after the MPs failed to agree on a new electoral draft-law.