Lebanon News

Lebanon's Arabic Press Digest - Apr. 19, 2014


A campaign to disrupt the election before voting begins

Yesterday’s political developments failed to predict what next week's parliamentary session would be like. On the contrary, the developments increased the level of ambiguity and complexity in terms of candidates and possible quorum.

The March 8 group began hinting that it would not attend the session on the basis of "either our candidate or no quorum," while the March 14 coalition has not yet reached a consensus on a single candidate.

An-Nahar obtained information saying that the session would be held but no candidate would win the majority of the votes while the second parliamentary session might not be held unless there were a candidate that everyone agreed on.


As-Safir releases content of Saudi-Iranian contacts about a compromise over the presidential election, which will be postponed

Everyone is counting on lines of communications between Tehran and Riyadh for the presidential election. Sources told As-Safir that the new Saudi ambassador to Iran had held a series of meeting with Iranian officials discussing means to restore trust between the countries since his arrival.

High-ranking Iranian officials have said that they seek to strengthen ties with Gulf countries, particularly Saudi Arabia. The sources said that a Saudi official would soon visit the Iranian Foreign Ministry and then Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif would visit Riyadh.

Earlier this month, France briefed the U.S. on the open dialogue Paris has with the Iranians, which was then followed by an understanding between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia to task France with the Lebanese presidential election.


No quorum in Wednesday's session?

While the March 14 coalition is racing with time to agree on a single candidate before Wednesday's session, talk has surfaced that the first parliamentary session might not even convene. Meanwhile, President Michel Sleiman is attempting to revive the possibility of his "extension."

There will be no quorum in Wednesday's session. It might sound as a prediction, but there is a conviction among rival groups that the next president will only be a consensus one.

Those close to Sleiman have begun promoting the idea of his extension, taking advantage of the fact that there is not yet a consensus on a candidate. Al-Akhbar obtained information saying Sleiman is trying to reopen lines of communication with Hezbollah’s leadership to clarify his stance on the resistance. But such attempts fell on deaf ears.





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