Lebanon fails to elect president again

Lebanon fails to elect president again

151Beirut, Nov 19 (IANS) The Lebanese parliament Wednesday failed for the 15th consecutive time since April to elect a new head of state to replace President Michel Suleiman, whose term ended May 25.

Lack of the required constitutional two-thirds quorum in the 128-seat parliament was the reason that pushed Speaker Nabih Berri to call for a new session Dec 10.

While 86 parliamentarians should have been present in parliament to proceed with the elections, only 56 MPs representing the anti-Syrian March 14 alliance and the centrist Democratic Gathering were present, amid the continuing boycott of the pro-Syrian March 8 camp, Xinhua reported.

The March 14 camp announced the candidacy of the Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea while the main component of March 8 camp, Hezbollah, backs the Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun who insists on running as consensual candidate. The Centrist Democratic Gathering MP Henri Helou is competing as consensual candidate.

According to the constitution, the government of Prime Minister Tammam Salam took charge of the presidency until the election of a new president.

It is not the first time Lebanon has gone into a vacuum in the presidency. In 1988, following the end of the tenure of President Amine Gemayel, Lebanon remained without a president until 1989, and in 2007, following the end of the extended term of President Emile Lahoud, the post remained vacant until May 25, 2008, when President Suleiman was elected.



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