Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, left, shakes hands with Patriarch Beshara Rai in Paris, Wednesday, April 30, 2014. (The Daily Star/Dalati Nohra, HO)
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Parliament failed Wednesday to elect a new president for the second time in a week, heightening fears of a vacuum in the presidency as the rival factions remained at odds over a compromise candidate, political sources said.Hariri and Bassil agreed to work on ensuring the presidential vote takes place on time to avoid a vacuum in the presidency.French President Francois Hollande spoke by phone with Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt and called for the presidential election to be held on time. However, Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk sounded skeptical that the presidential vote could be held on time in the absence of a regional and international accord over a compromise president.The need for an agreement beforehand on a consensus president was underlined by a number of lawmakers from Hezbollah and Aoun's bloc, who came to Parliament but stayed away from the session in a clear attempt to thwart the two-thirds quorum of 86 MPs required for any electoral session.
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