BEIRUT

Lebanon News

March 8 MPs to attend next voting session: Berri

File - Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri speaks during a Parliament session in Beirut, Thursday, March 20, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: MPs from the Hezbollah-led March 8 coalition have assured Speaker Nabih Berri that they will attend the May 22 session to elect a new president, but they wouldn’t say whether they would vote for any candidate.

“I was informed by March 8 MPs that they would attend the last session before the constitutional deadline ends and would secure a quorum,” Berri was quoted as telling visitors in remarks published Friday. “However, they did not say whether they would cast white votes or vote for any candidate."

Berri adjourned Thursday’s session until May 22, three days before President Michel Sleiman is scheduled to leave office, over lack of quorum after only 73 lawmakers showed up, well below the two-thirds quorum (86) of the legislature’s 128 members required to begin the session.

It was the fourth attempt in less than a month to elect a new president, raising fears of a presidential vacuum.

As in the previous sessions, March 8 MPs – including Hezbollah and Michel Aoun’s parliamentary Change and Reform bloc – boycotted Thursday’s voting session to pressure their March 14 rivals to reach agreement beforehand on a consensus candidate.

Berri said next week’s session would not be the last.

“The meeting called for May 22 will not be the last,” he said. “I will call for successive meetings every three days.”

 

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