BEIRUT

Lebanon News

Hariri meets Gemayel but Future pessimistic

MP Sami Gemayel arrives at the Parliament in Beirut, Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: Kataeb MP Sami Gemayel met with former Prime Minister Saad Hariri in Paris Monday, while the Future bloc appeared pessimistic toward the possibility of holding the presidential election on time.

Kataeb leader Amine Gemayel confirmed the meeting, saying that Hariri emphasized the importance of preserving state institutions and the role of Christians in these institutions to the MP.

Amine Gemayel launched last week an initiative to find a breakthrough to Lebanon’s presidential crisis, meeting with several leading figures, including Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea, Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun, Marada Movement leader MP Suleiman Frangieh and Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt.

The Kataeb leader met Monday with Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai in Bkirki.

Amine Gemayel has said in previous comments that he could emerge as a presidential candidate in case a consensus to back him from rival political forces is reached.

In comments to the local Future television channel, MP Ammar Houri sounded downbeat on the prospect of holding the presidential election on time.

“None of the indicators ... are encouraging at the moment; there is a stalemate in the process,” the Future lawmaker said.

“Unfortunately, we seem to be heading toward a vacuum,” he said.

Houri said he hoped the consensus that led to forming the new Cabinet in February, after nearly a ten-month stalemate, would reflect on the presidential election.

“However, the reality does not seem to be in harmony [with such a consensus],” Houri said.

The Future lawmaker said that “the majority of the Lebanese people and probably Lebanese officials are keen on holding the presidential election on time but the other side is insisting on leading us to a vacuum for its own [interests].”

Lebanon has so far held three rounds to elect a successor for President Michel Sleiman, whose term ends on May 25. The latest two Parliament sessions to vote for a president were boycotted by Hezbollah and the Free Patriotic Movement.

 

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