BEIRUT: Lebanese Forces leader and presidential hopeful Samir Geagea, said Wednesday he discussed with Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai a means to avoid a presidential vacuum, saying a solution must be found to avert vacancy.
“I briefed Rai on my meetings in Paris and we discussed the presidential election and means to avoid a vacuum,” Geagea told reporters after his meeting in Bkirki, the seat of the Maronite patriarchate.
“In the meantime we are thinking of a means to prevent vacuum, regardless of the price... Rai and I discussed some ideas that I cannot reveal now,” he added.
Geagea recently returned from Paris where he held talks with former Prime Minister Saad Hariri about the presidential impasse.
Parliament has struggled to elect a new head of state with no single candidate able to garner the needed majority to win.
Lawmakers in MP Michel Aoun’s camp, who has said he would run for the post only as a “consensus candidate,” have boycotted the last four rounds of vote in Parliament which failed to secure quorum for the session.
Geagea commented on the boycott, describing it as a nondemocratic process and lamenting the fact that the country suffer a presidential vacuum.
“I wish MP Michel Aoun would attend the Parliament session tomorrow and if he receives two thirds majority, then I will be the first to congratulate him,” he said.
Geagea was referring to Thursday’s parliament session to elect a new president which many believe is doomed to fail, similar to previous rounds of voting following Aoun’s boycott.
“The patriarch and I are deeply saddened that quorum will be lost once again in tomorrow's session and we won't be able to elect a new president,” he said.
“But March 14 coalition and I have thought a lot about what we can do ... but until now we have not yet reached a solution to prevent a vacuum,” he added.
Responding to a question about extending Sleiman’s term, Geagea said he discussed such a possibility with Rai.
“We discussed [extending Sleiman's term] with Rai but there are not enough MPs to back such a move in Parliament ... so that proposal ended here,” he said.