Consultative Gathering Warns Baabda Vacuum Threatening Lebanon's Existence

The so-called Consultative Gathering warned on Monday that the presidential vacuum is threatening the existence of the Lebanese state and entity.

In a statement read by Qazzi, the gathering, which is led by former President Michel Suleiman said: “The election of a head of state is necessary to protect the unity of Lebanon and the Lebanese.”

“The continued vacuum has been threatening the status of Lebanon as an entity and state,” he said.

“All those boycotting the electoral sessions are to be blamed” for the failure to elect a new head of state, he stressed after a meeting which was held at Kataeb leader Amin Gemayel's residence in Sin el-Fil.

The rival camps have failed to elect a successor to Suleiman despite around 23 parliamentary sessions. The MPs have not met the two-thirds quorum required to hold an electoral session.

Suleiman's six-year term at Baabda Palace ended on May 25 last year, the longest time the post has been vacant since the devastating civil war ended in 1990.

Saturday's meeting was attended by Suleiman, Gemayel and eight cabinet ministers loyal to them.

The statement of the gathering urged Prime Minister Tammam Salam's government to take all measures to control the border area.

The liberation of the South will not be complete unless all parties abide by the constitution and the legitimacy of the state, it said.

“Only legitimate forces should provide stability to all Lebanese regions that are under threat” as a result of the border problems, stressed Qazzi.

The differences between rival parties on the security and military appointments hadn't happened if there were a president, he said.

“Only the election of a head of state would resolve” this problem, he stated.

An independent judiciary alone provides a real guarantee for ending impunity and establishing the state of law, the minister added.

Qazzi also told reporters that the next meeting of the consultative gathering will be held in early June at Telecommunications Minister Butros Harb's residence.

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