Lebanon News

Sleiman urges Parliament to elect new president

President Michel Sleiman gestures as he arrives to attend the National Dialogue session in Baabda, Sunday, March 30, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

BEIRUT: President Michel Sleiman Friday called on Parliament to elect a new head of state to avoid the perils of not electing a successor before the May 25 end of his term.

Parliament, he said, “should work in line with the Constitution and the law to fulfill the presidential election to avoid the dangers and risks that may arise due to non-election of a president before May 25,” Sleiman said in a letter addressed to the assembly.

Parliament failed a fourth time this week to hold a second round of voting for a new president. After no candidate managed to achieve the needed two-thirds majority in the first round of voting, many March 8 MPs have boycotted the last four attempts, thwarting quorum.

Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri adjourned Thursday's session to May 22.

Friday morning, Berri was quoted saying that the March 8 MPs had assured him that they would attend the next session, though without any promise to cast votes. However, Hezbollah official Ibrahim Amin Sayyed told reporters after a Friday meeting with Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai that the party's MPs would not attend unless an agreement on a consensus candidate was reached before the session.

“If there is consensus on a president, one who is not a challenging figure and one who is acceptable to all Lebanese, we will go to Parliament,” he stressed.

Presidential hopeful Samir Geagea, who received 48 votes in the first round of voting, left Beirut Friday for a tour of European and Arab states, holding talks with French and Saudi officials as well as former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, a political source said Friday.





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