Gemayel Slams 'Unethical' Boycott, Says Priority for Presidential Election

Phalange leader Amin Gemayel called on Tuesday for the immediate election of a new president amid an “unethical” boycott by several blocs, reiterating that parliament should not legislate in case of a vacuum at Baabda Palace.

“Parliament should only focus on electing a new president. It should not legislate in case of vacuum as the Constitution states,” Gemayel said following talks with Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi in Bkirki.

“The election of a president should be a priority. All efforts should focus on pressuring MPs who are boycotting the sessions,” he told reporters.

The majority of March 8 lawmakers have caused lack of quorum in several rounds of parliamentary sessions aimed at electing a new president.

The boycott of the MPs, which Gemayel described as an “unethical (move) against the Constitution, parliament and the nation,” comes amid differences between the March 8 and 14 alliances on a compromise candidate.

While March 14 backs the candidacy of Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea, the Hizbullah-led March 8 camp says there is a need for a consensual president.

Their differences led to a vacuum in the country's top Christian post when President Michel Suleiman's six-year term expired on May 25.

“Legislation should only take its normal course after the election of a president,” Gemayel said a few hours after parliament failed once again to discuss a controversial draft-law on a wage hike for the public sector.

“We support social rights but there are priorities,” the former president stressed.

“Political, constitutional and parliamentary life would be organized only after the election of a head of state,” he said.

Kataeb MPs were among other March 14 alliance lawmakers who on Tuesday boycotted the legislative session on the wage hike.

The boycott is aimed at sending a message of protest to the March 8 alliance that has paralyzed the electoral sessions.



Copyright © 2012 All Rights Reserved.