BEIRUT: Marada Movement leader Suleiman Franjieh warns of a presidential vacuum as the conflict over Syria continues and suggests Lebanon adopt the 50 percent plus one vote formula to secure the office.
“The ongoing international and regional conflict over Syria will translate in Lebanon into a continuation of a government vacuum, and will extend to the presidency next spring,” Franjieh said in remarks published Thursday.
“This means that the Lebanese, Syrian and regional circumstances today do not allow March 8 or March 14 forces to choose a [presidential] candidate among them,” he told the local daily As-Safir.
Franjieh also ruled out prolonging President Michel Sleiman’s term which expires in May.
“The extension of the President of the Republic is excluded under these circumstances,” he said. “Therefore a [power] vacuum in the president’s seat will be next year’s headline.”
Franjieh called for a change in the presidential election mechanism, suggesting Lebanon adopts the 50 percent-plus-one vote.
“Let a president come from March 8 or March 14. Then, the President can become a real president and governor.”
Under the article 49 of the Lebanese Constitution, a two-thirds majority of the 128-seat Lebanese Parliament is required to elect the president. If in the first two rounds of elections no one candidate secures a two-thirds majority, the president is elected by a simple majority of 65 MPs out of 128.