Rahi Welcomes Hariri as 'Man of Courage,' and Hariri Says a New Leaf Will Begin Monday

Al-Mustaqbal Movement leader Saad Hariri urged everyone to cooperate for the well interest of Lebanon, pointing to a new leaf that will be opened on Monday after the election of a head of state to fill the longtime vacuum.

“The country is on the threshold of a new phase, and I hope that everyone cooperates for the well interest of Lebanon and the Lebanese,” said Hariri after meeting Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi in Bkirki.

Hailing the Patriarch Hariri said: “The Patriarch has been keen on the election of a president,” adding “we will all cooperate on Monday. Today we are heading towards a white end to open a new leaf in relations and to begin this phase together,” he said pointing to enormous challenges facing the government.

For his part, Rahi received Hariri and welcomed him as saying: “Welcome you man of courage and determination,” in a clear reference to Hariri's initiative when he endorsed MP Michel Aoun for the post of president last week.

Speaker Nabih Berri has summoned lawmakers on October 31 for the presidential vote, which will go ahead if a quorum of two-thirds is reached.

The 128-member legislature counts 127 lawmakers at the moment after one member resigned over the summer.

The successful candidate wins the vote with a majority of two-thirds in the first round, or with an absolute majority in the next rounds.

Lebanon has been without a president since the term of Michel Suleiman ended in May 2014 and Hizbullah, Aoun's Change and Reform bloc and some of their allies have been boycotting the parliament's electoral sessions, stripping them of the needed quorum.

Hariri had launched an initiative in late 2015 to nominate Marada Movement MP Suleiman Franjieh for the presidency but his proposal was met with reservations from the country's main Christian parties as well as Hizbullah.

The supporters of Aoun's presidential bid have argued that he is more eligible than Franjieh to become president due to the size of his parliamentary bloc and his bigger influence in the Christian community.

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