Berri Expresses Hope Last-Minute Solution to Presidential Deadlock

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Speaker Nabih Berri said that electing a new president might be at the last-minute ahead of the end of outgoing President Michel Suleiman's term next week.

The pan-Arab daily al-Hayat, published on Sunday, quoted Berri's visitors as saying: “The only window of opportunity remaining is reaching consensus over a candidate ahead of May 25.”

“We might witness the election of a new president,” the speaker pointed out.

He stressed that “he didn't hesitate in calling (on the political arch-foes) to secure the necessary quorum for all the parliamentary sessions set to elect a new president.”

According to the Kuwaiti al-Anbaa newspaper, Berri decided to call on the parliament for two consecutive sessions next week if lawmakers failed to elect a new head of state on May 22.

The two sessions will be held on Friday and Saturday.

A fifth round of polls is scheduled to be held next Thursday, two days before the expiry of Suleiman's six-year tenure.

Suleiman had continue sly reiterated that he will be at his home on May 25, as his term ends on May 24 when he is scheduled to deliver a farewell speech.

Parliament has so far failed to elect a new president over differences between the March 8 and 14 alliances.

Most of the March 8 camp's MPs have boycotted four rounds of elections over their call for an agreement on a consensual president and their rejection of the candidacy of their foe Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea.

There are fears that the vacuum in the country's top Christian post would affect Lebanon's power-sharing agreement under which the president should be a Maronite, the premier a Sunni and the speaker a Shiite.


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