Change and Reform Concludes Presidential Initiative Tour

Change and Reform lawmakers finished Friday a tour the bloc kicked off earlier this week to garner support for Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun's initiative to end the lingering presidential crisis.

“The Christian voice isn't being heard... despite its importance” to end the presidential crisis, MP Simon Abi Ramia said after talks with Lebanese Democratic Party leader Talal Arslan at his residence.

“We met with all parties and reached a conviction on the importance of reclaiming the pioneer role of Christians,” the lawmaker told reporters.

The delegation had met with Progressive Socialist Party official Taymor Jumblat, and the son of MP Walid Jumblat, Hizbullah, Mustaqbal Movement, AMAL, Marada Movement, Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi, Lebanese Forces and Kataeb Party parliamentary blocs.

Aoun's initiative sets four solutions to the presidential deadend, at the forefront the election of a president directly from the people in two phases, first by the Christians, who would eliminate candidates and on a second phase by the Lebanese people.

Another solution would be a popular referendum and the candidate who garners most votes would be elected by the parliament as a new president.

The initiative also includes the possibility of electing the Maronite candidate who has the majority of representation at the parliament, while the fourth is staging the parliamentary elections ahead of the presidential polls based on a new electoral law that provides equality between Christians and Muslims.

Vacuum striking the presidential post since May last year is having a tough impact on the cabinet and the parliament as the state is threatened with further crises over ongoing rows between the rival parties.



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