MPs gather at Parliament to attend a session to elect a new president in Beirut, Thursday, May 15, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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Parliament Thursday failed in its fourth attempt in less than a month to elect a new president, raising fears of a presidential vacuum and underlining the lawmakers' inability to break the deadlock that threatens to throw the politically divided country into further turmoil.Speaker Nabih Berri adjourned Thursday's session until May 22, three days before Sleiman is scheduled to leave office, after only 73 lawmakers showed up, well below the two-thirds quorum (86) of the legislature's 128 members required to begin the session.As in the three previous sessions, lawmakers from MP Michel Aoun's parliamentary Change and Reform bloc, Hezbollah and its March 8 allies boycotted Thursday's meeting apparently to pressure their March 14 rivals to reach agreement beforehand on a consensus candidate for the presidency. After this session, it is not necessary for Berri to call on lawmakers to convene for the election of a new head of state because the Constitution requires Parliament to enter an electoral session 10 days before the expiration of the current president's term.Prior to the session, Berri held separate meetings with Prime Minister Tammam Salam, Jumblatt and MP Ibrahim Kanaan from Aoun's bloc.
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