Berri casts his vote during Parliament’s session.
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Parliament's failure to elect a president shows that no head of state will be appointed without a regional rapprochement involving Saudi Arabia and Iran, Lebanese experts and analysts said.A 60-day period of consultation began last month to elect a new president.The new president must win two-thirds of the vote in Lebanon's 128-member national assembly. The March 14 candidate, Samir Geagea, earned just 48 votes, ahead of the centrist candidate Henry Helou. Most of the members of the March 8 coalition handed in a blank ballot, choosing to cast an empty vote rather than pick a candidate to stand against Geagea. Mario Abou Zeid, an expert on Lebanese politics at the Carnegie Middle East Center, said the vote was significant because it marked the first time since the 1970s that MPs tried to elect a president independently of foreign powers.Khashan said the failure of any candidate to secure the required two-thirds of the vote showed that a consensus candidate was the "only way".
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