Mazloum: Lack of Quorum in 2nd Round of Votes Was Expected, Camps Trying to Outsmart Each other

Bishop Samir Mazloum stated on Thursday that “no one expected the required quorum to be met” at the parliament in the second round of votes on a new president.

"Each camp has its own candidate and neither has the required number of votes to secure its nominee's victory,” Mazloum told al-Joumhouria newspaper.

He continued: “Things are clear now. When any of either camps feels that a rival candidate might win in the elections, it will try to obstruct holding the parliamentary session.”

The bishop noted that Christian leaders committed to attending the first round of votes at the parliament.

"All Christian MPs attended the first session then. But they did not relinquish what they considered to be their right of missing the second round of votes. They say that boycotting sessions is part of the democratic game.”

Mazloum then called on all Christian factions to hurry up and reach an agreement to elect a new head of state, remarking that they were trying to “outsmart each other.”

He added that Bkirki's efforts are continuous in this respect.

"Now is the time for reaching a settlement and an agreement (on the presidential elections),” he stressed.

The bishop also denied that Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi had suggested the name of former minister Ziad Baroud as a consensual candidate.

"The patriarch took a decision not to get involved in the naming game,” he said.

Meanwhile, al-Rahi revealed that the Wednesday meeting with former Prime Minister Saad Hariri in Paris stressed the necessity of electing a president who is capable of responding to Lebanon's needs.

"I totally reject vacuum (in the presidency), and we must work on avoiding it,” Rahi told LBCI television.

He also reiterated that no lawmaker has the right to miss parliamentary sessions dedicated for electing a new president.

"Being present (at the sessions) is a national duty because the MPs were elected by the people and their presence is a constitutional duty,” the patriarch stated.

"No lawmaker shall abuse people's delegation,” he commented.

Al-Rahi also remarked that the names of potential presidential candidates should be discussed among political leaders only.

Informed sources told al-Joumhouria that the meeting came as a continuation of talks on the presidential vote between Hariri and al-Rahi that were launched one month ago in Rome.

Hariri updated the patriarch on his Tuesday talks with Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil, stressing that communication with different factions will continue on the anticipated elections, although no outcomes have been reached so far.

The head of al-Mustaqbal Movement is expected to return to Saudi Arabia from Paris on the weekend.

In a related matter, the daily revealed that United States Ambassador to Lebanon David Hale will travel to Saudi Arabia on Sunday after he concludes the rounds of talks he is holding in Beirut.

Hale is expected to hold talks with Saudi authorities and take part in the American-Saudi Arabian Joint Commission's meetings, which will discuss regional issues, including the Lebanese presidential race and the Syrian crisis.

Lawmakers once again failed on Wednesday to elect a new president as differences between the March 8 and 14 alliances led to a lack of quorum in the second parliamentary session aimed at choosing a new head of state.

While the March 14 camp held onto its candidate Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea, the Hizbullah-led March 8 alliance, except for Speaker Nabih Berri's Development and Liberation bloc, boycotted the second round of the elections over lack of consensus on one candidate.

Berri set Wednesday, May 7 for a third round of voting.



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