BEIRUT

Lebanon News

Hezbollah warns of power vacuum

Hezbollah's deputy leader Sheikh Naim Qassem speaks in front of students at the LU in Hadath, Lebanon, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)

BEIRUT: Hezbollah Tuesday called for a political consensus on a new president and warned that Lebanon might slip into a power vacuum if no head of state is elected by May 25.

Political leaders must “agree on a president,” Hezbollah’s deputy head Sheikh Naim Qassem said.

“If no consensus is reached, it means that ... we might plunge into [power] vacuum," Qassem warned. "I’m not saying we want [a power] vacuum, but I’m saying that this vacuum is the natural result of the failure by some [politicians] to make consensual decisions.”

President Michel Sleiman’s term ends May 25 with no clear candidate capable of garnering the needed majority in Parliament to win the presidency.

A third round of voting is scheduled for Wednesday. However, the session is likely to fail to elect a president amid an expected boycott by most MPs from the Hezbollah-led March 8 coalition.

Qassem said that not just any president could run Lebanon.

“If a president is helpless, without color or taste, it will be a big mistake because this president won’t be able to govern the country,” he said. “A president who is capable of running the country and creating a state of stability is one who is able to draft an agreement among the Lebanese political forces, commit to the agreement, develop a work plan and stick to his words and obligations and have credibility."

 

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