BEIRUT

Lebanon News

Aoun to launch initiative to end presidential void

Aoun has refused to declare his candidacy until the election becomes serious. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

BEIRUT: Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun will launch an initiative to end the presidential vacuum in Lebanon, Education Minister Elias Bou Saab told a local radio station Sunday.

Bou Saab said dialogue between the FPM and the Future Movement regarding the presidency and other national files was ongoing.

“General Aoun will announce Monday his vision to end the presidential crisis,” Bou Saab told Voice of Lebanon. “We hope that the new initiative will lead to an accord among various Christian groups that will pave the way for electing a new president.”

Sources close to Aoun told The Daily Star over the weekend that during the Monday news conference to launch his new initiative, Aoun would propose that the Lebanese people directly vote for their new president in a bid to allow for fairer and more accurate representation, instead of having lawmakers choose the next head of state.

The sources said Aoun endorsed coming up with a formula that would ensure Christians had the main say in choosing the next president, since custom stipulates that the president of the republic is a Maronite Christian.

Aoun has refused to declare himself a presidential candidate until the election becomes serious, but the FPM leader is holding contacts with the Future Movement in a bid to convince it to back him as a consensus candidate to the presidency.

In his comments to Voice of Lebanon, Bou Saab highlighted that Aoun was "capable today of communicating with various Lebanese groups."

Bou Saab also rejected arguments that in light of the frail security situation, the best option was to elect a military or security figure.

"The issue of the presidential election is not linked to security events but rather demands political consensus," Bou Saab said.

The position of head of state has been vacant since former President Michel Sleiman’s term ended on May 25, with the March 8 and 14 political blocs failing to reach a consensus on his successor.

Berri has set July 2 as the next attempt for a presidential election session in Parliament, but no consensus has yet been achieved among Lebanon’s political rivals over a candidate. The legislature has failed to elect a new president during the several sessions it has held so far, beginning on April 23.

 

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Summary

Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun will launch an initiative to end the presidential vacuum in Lebanon, Education Minister Elias Bou Saab told a local radio station Sunday.

The sources said Aoun endorsed coming up with a formula that would ensure Christians had the main say in choosing the next president, since custom stipulates that the president of the republic is a Maronite Christian.

Aoun has refused to declare himself a presidential candidate until the election becomes serious, but the FPM leader is holding contacts with the Future Movement in a bid to convince it to back him as a consensus candidate to the presidency.


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