Lebanon News

Consensus quickest path to election: Hezbollah

File - Hezbollah's deputy chief Sheik Naim Kassem, speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Beirut's southern suburbs, Lebanon, Monday, June 28, 2010.(AP Photo/Grace Kassab)

BEIRUT: Hezbollah deputy leader Sheikh Naim Qassem called Thursday for consensus on a successor to President Michel Sleiman, whose term ends on May 25.

“Let us be clear and honest, consensus is the shortest way to elect a president,” Qassem said during a party ceremony in Hadath, south of Beirut. “Confrontation has obstructed, and continues to obstruct, the election of a new president; let us benefit from the positive circumstances that helped achieve a national unity government."

He said the election of new president was possible with “clear intentions” and “consensus.”

“We encourage all political forces to meet and cooperate to the best interests of the country,” Qassem said.

Lebanon failed in the fifth attempt to elect a new president earlier during the day, with Hezbollah maintaining its boycott of the session along with its allies in the Free Patriotic Movement.

Qassem also said that the political forces should not remain silent over Israeli violations against the country even if they were only minor breaches.

“We have recently witnessed onshore and offshore Israeli violations to Lebanon. Even if the breaches are limited ... we should raise our voices and condemn them, and the Lebanese state should take action and expose Israel,” he said.

“We should hear an objection from all political forces condemning such violation, but unfortunately we only hear few comments [on the breaches],” he added. “I wished that just once the secretary-general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon would object to such violations.”

Qassem also defended his group’s military intervention in Syria as part of the fight against the “anti-resistance plot and to preserve the back of the resistance.”





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