Thursday, July 16, 2015

Lebanon's parliament fails anew to elect president over lack of quorum

The Lebanese parliament failed for the 26th consecutive time in convening to elect a new president because of lack of the constitutionally required quorum.

Speaker Nabih Berri postponed the polls until August 12, according to a statement by his media office.

Lebanon has been without a president since May 25, 2014 when the six-year term of former president Michel Suleiman ended.

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

The western backed March 14 camp backs the election of the Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea, while the March 8 camp led by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militant party backs the election of head of the Change and Reform parliamentary bloc MP Michel Aoun.

The centrist Democratic Gathering led by MP Walid Jumblatt announced the candidacy of its member Henri Helou.

None of the rival camps have the majority to elect the president that should be according to the national pact a Christian Maronite.

According to the constitution the president-elect should obtain the two thirds of the 128-seat parliament in the first round of voting, and a simple majority in the following voting rounds, but however, the required quorum in all the voting rounds should be two thirds of the parliament members.

Head of the al-Mustaqbal bloc MP Fouad Saniora condemned the ongoing vacuum in the presidency, saying: "The election of a head of state is key to ending the Lebanese people's problems and waiting for developments here and there is not helpful."

"We failed as Lebanese to elect a president due to the policies of obstruction adopted by some sides," he added from parliament, stressing "the election of a president will bring the Lebanese together and not act as a divider between them."