Presidential Elections Postponed again as Harb Calls for Amendment that Forces MPs to Attend Polls

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The 35th session to elect a president was postponed on Monday following a lack of quorum at parliament as officials voiced their ongoing disappointment with some blocs' boycott of the polls.

Speaker Nabih Berri scheduled a new electoral session for March 2.

Telecommunications Minister Butros Harb lamented after the failed meeting the current state of democracy in Lebanon, calling for an amendment to the constitution that forces lawmakers to attend the polls.

“We are studying an amendment that would obligate MPs to attend elections otherwise risk losing their seat at parliament,” he told reporters.

Another amendment calls for a head of state to remain in his post until a new president is elected in order to avert a prolonged vacuum similar to the one Lebanon is witnessing, he revealed.

Lebanon has been without a president since May 2014 when the term of Michel Suleiman ended without the election of a successor.

Ongoing disputes between the rival March 8 and 14 camps over a compromise candidate have thwarted the polls.

Some observers were optimistic that a head of state would have been elected during Monday's session following Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea's endorsement of his longtime rival Change and Reform bloc chief MP Michel Aoun as president.

Over the weekend however, Hizbullah, Aoun's main ally, announced that its lawmakers will not attend the electoral session unless an agreement is reached to elect the MP.

Harb condemned this approach, saying sarcastically that parliament should only serve as a place of celebration where it would celebrate any political agreement that is made in advance.

Monday's electoral session saw the attendance of 38 March 14 alliance MPs, 13 from the March 8 alliance, and seven independent figures.

Head of the Kataeb Party MP Sami Gemayel said after the electoral session: “It is time that we adhere to democracy.”

“Not everyone can win in politics as it is about winning and losing,” he noted.

“Democracy has existed in Lebanon for 80 years and we are now burying it and harming the Lebanese people,” he said.

LF MP Georges Adwan later stressed that the party “is seeking rapprochement between Aoun and the Mustaqbal Movement,” while noting that “Hizbullah must reach an understanding with Marada Movement chief MP Suleiman Franjieh.”

Franjieh is also running for the presidency.



Comments 14
Missing helicopter 08 February 2016, 15:35

The Islam of Tehran representatives in Lebanon did not attent to elect the person they said they supported for so many years. Masks have fallen and everyone (except those who themselves are Iranian with Lebanese IDs) should declare HA's betrayal and Desire to control Lebanon to promote its own agenda and Iranian agenda (one and the same)

Thumb EagleDawn 08 February 2016, 15:40

most advanced most educated? LOL only in the Lebanese delusional heads.

Thumb EagleDawn 08 February 2016, 15:42

You people do not get it ! Hezbollah supports Aoun and wants Aoun but its boycott of the elections is best explained by none other than the iranian secular mouthpiece mowaten:

hezbollah supports aoun and has been supporting him all along. but as long as the threat of ending up with a convicted war criminal as president was looming, the only possible was to prevent quorum from being attained."

Thumb justin 08 February 2016, 15:58

But only M8 figures are candidates for the presidency?! This troll mowaten has no logic and is paid to post.

Thumb ashtah 08 February 2016, 16:17

Hezbollah the iranian party ran out of excuses as the whole world can see now. Geagea endorsed aoun and hariri endorsed franjieh yet the iranian party is still boycotting the elections. What is even more amazing is that both candidates (aoun and franjieh ) boycott their own election sessions. Thank you Hariri, Thank you Geagea for handing over the country officially to iran.

Thumb marcus 08 February 2016, 21:33

lol @ashtah.

Aoun and franjieh not attending the electoral sessions remind me of the groom who does not want to attend his own wedding ceremony.

Thumb marcus 08 February 2016, 22:27

actually it is like 2 guys won the lottery but refuse to collect it. LOL LOL

Missing coolmec 08 February 2016, 16:02

100%correct. I could not have said it better

Thumb justin 08 February 2016, 16:14

MPs get free gasoline allowance every month.

Thumb ashtah 08 February 2016, 16:25

The gas tax will be levied. The treasury is in dire straits.

Thumb justin 08 February 2016, 16:15

is this your latest trolling name?

Thumb chrisrushlau 08 February 2016, 17:17

Your accusation does raise the question of why Hezbullah does not engineer a civil uprising to install the popular vote by jettisoning the National-Pact/Taef-Accord arrangement contained in Article 24 of the Constitution where half of Parliament must be "Christians". (If a Shia and a Christian have a baby, what sect is the baby in?) (Answer: it is illegal for a Christian to marry a Shia. The government, as soon as there is one, views such marriages with extreme ill favor.) How do you know how many Lebanese are Shias? Wiki: last census was in the '30's "because it is so controversial". Noam Chomsky says more than half of Lebanese are Shias. That would explain Hezbullah's strength, assuming most of them support it. Why would they, except for Speaker Berri, trust the racist government? I mean non-government.

Thumb beiruti 08 February 2016, 20:57

Where, someone tell me, where are the Lebanese people?? There's garbage in the streets, raw sewage in the sea, nothing works and they have the unique ability to change this, but instead, they do nothing. Those who can leave, leave, and those who can't are clients of the political class and the patronage that comes as payment for the sale of the sovereignty of the State.
Who to blame, those who vote with their feet and leave, rather than to stay and fight for your country!

Thumb beiruti 08 February 2016, 23:54

Tex, keep in mind that before they vote first they have to get a quorum present which is 85 members, then of that number, a simple majority is required since the initial vote was taken which required a 2/3 majority to win. So now, only 43 votes are needed to win from an 85 Member Quorum.
By the Numbers, to get to 86, you have FPM with 20, LF with 8, that's only 28. With Hezbollah at 13 and AMAL at 13, that gets the total to 69. Jumblatt's 7 brings it to 76. Quorum is still not presented without Future to come to Parliament and they are not coming to vote for Aoun.