No President in Sight as Rivals Fail Again to Vote

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Lawmakers once again failed to elect a successor to President Michel Suleiman who will leave Baabda Palace on Sunday with a vacant seat in the country's top Christian post.

The fifth round of the elections on Thursday was similar to its predecessors. The majority of March 8 alliance's MPs boycotted it, claiming that the rival parties should agree on a consensual candidate before heading to parliament to elect a new head of state.

Berri told MPs, who were present at parliament, however, that the electoral session will be open-ended until the expiry of Suleiman's term.

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

Suleiman has made a plea to MPs to elect a president and “avert the dangers” that could result from the failure to do so.

Similar appeals have been made by Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi.

MP Alain Aoun said the Change and Reform bloc would issue a statement on Monday on ways to deal with the stage of vacuum.

The bloc, which is led by Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun, is part of the Hizbullah-led March 8 coalition, that has been boycotting the parliamentary sessions.

His rival Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea, who is the March 14 alliance's sole candidate, received the votes of only 48 MPs in the first round of the elections after the March 8 MPs cast 52 blank ballots to protest his candidacy.

The LF leader's wife, MP Sethrida Geagea, wondered during a press conference she held in parliament what sort of democracy lawmakers were practicing.

She said they were not exercising their national duties and accused Aoun of striking Lebanon's power sharing system and the Taef accord.

Another LF MP, George Adwan, warned against the consequences of the paralysis.

“Does obstructing quorum adhere to” power sharing? he asked.

In another short press conference, presidential candidate centrist MP Henri Helou reiterated his call for the election of a president who does not provoke any of the rival parties.

But Change and Reform MP Ibrahim Kanaan, snapped back, telling reporters in parliament that the FPM was not seeking to impose a candidate.

“No one can impose their candidate on anyone,” he said.



Comments 18
Thumb -phoenix1 22 May 2014, 12:55

Let general Qahwaji go to Baabda and give them all a heart-attack. Despite what some may feel of him, many are in favor of Qahwaji replace Suleiman, who li mish 3ejboh, yi ro7 yedrob rasso 3al 7ayt. Tfadal ya Aoun, heydal 7ayt.

Thumb Clementine 22 May 2014, 13:52

Yo Ariel according to M8 Bashir was a butcher, just ask Flamethrower

Missing moonsear 22 May 2014, 14:27

I call on Naharnet to ban Ariel from their site....according to the constitution he is an enemy of our country and should be allowed to express opinions on internal matters

Missing moonsear 22 May 2014, 14:28

....not be allowed

Thumb ex-fpm 22 May 2014, 13:04

How many times can history judge a traitor to his country, to the principles he claims he believes in, to the people and martyrs who believed in his propaganda. Michel Aoun, history has already judged you but what is more effective is when we the people judge you every single day for all the damage you have done to the christians of lebanon and to our beloved country. Today was another judgement day for you General..

Default-user-icon Hanoun (Guest) 22 May 2014, 13:09

with popular vote for presidency never there will be a vaccum and the president issued from popular vote is 100% made in Lebanon by Lebanese

Default-user-icon hanoun (Guest) 22 May 2014, 13:35

popular vote for presidency is the solution it will stop outside interferences and sterile debates between political parties working for outside agendas

Default-user-icon +oua nabka + (Guest) 22 May 2014, 13:42

just let the Lebanese decide their fate and make the election 100 % made in Lebanon by voting for their president through a popular vote

Default-user-icon zach (Guest) 22 May 2014, 14:23

Lebanon-- A backward sectarian dysfunctional system. Sunni, Shia, Maronite etc-- The Lebanese will never learn, both people and leadership completely devoid of intelligence and an a capacity to critically think.

Default-user-icon fortissoa potriatiria (Guest) 22 May 2014, 15:45

when did m14 say that show one instance, if m8 wanted to elect a president they can go to parliament vote for whoever they want, which is what m14 is doing, but for m8 it's aoun or no quorum ie no president even patriarch rai is saying that (:

Thumb beiruti 22 May 2014, 17:48

FT, Aoun and Geagea (whom I presume you refer to as 'a butcher') do not make for a zero-sum game. These are not the only two Maronites qualified to serve as president. So that if you are against one, then you must be for the other.
If you have read my posts, you will see that I have written that Geagea has as much a chance at election as Aoun. Neither are consensus candidates and that both need to come together and select a Geagea/Aoun consensus candidate to present to the Christian parties and then to the country.
Geagea already knows that he will need to step aside. Aoun has not come to that point of reality yet.

Missing peace 22 May 2014, 18:17

“No one can impose their candidate on anyone,” he said.

but where is your candidate hypocrit FPMer?.... oh! none just to create vacuum and chaos as if the country needs it...traitors...

Thumb general_puppet 22 May 2014, 18:24

“No one can impose their candidate on anyone,”... but we will not show up until you select our candidate.

Thumb general_puppet 22 May 2014, 18:25

Flimflam you never give up on BS, it was M8 that insisted no technocrats so shut your trap.

Thumb general_puppet 22 May 2014, 18:26

"The birth pangs of democracy"... you mean Iranian style democracy.

Thumb Marc 22 May 2014, 19:02

And when the next general election comes, The Lebanese people are going to vote the same MPs in . . . . Not sure who the idiots are, the MPs or the ones who paved their way to the Parliament

Thumb ex-fpm 22 May 2014, 21:42

funny isn't exactly what "americankate" used to post verbatim ? Shameless indeed

Missing people-power 22 May 2014, 22:05

How can their be a president when the Party of Iranian terrorists, and their FPM poodles, don't name a candidate, nor show up for a vote?