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Lebanon News

Local, foreign officials discuss fate of election

LF leader Samir Geagea speaks during a press conference in Maarab, Thursday, May 22, 2014. (The Daily Star/Aldo Ayoub, HO)

BEIRUT: Lebanese and foreign officials Friday held talks on the fate of the presidential election, only two days before President Michel Sleiman is set to leave office with no sign of an agreement on a successor.

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea discussed the next steps in the presidential election with an aide of former Prime Minister Saad Hairi Friday.

According to the LF, Geagea and former MP Ghattas Khoury met at his residence in Maarab for an hour.

They discussed recent developments in the presidential election, focusing on the fifth boycott of the Parliament session to choose a new head of state by some March 8 politicians.

They also spoke about "steps that should be taken in the next phase which [begins] after the end of the Constitutional deadline on May 25," when President Michel Sleiman's six-year term ends.

Media reports said that figures with the March 14 coalition held a meeting late Thursday to evaluate the period after May 25.

With no politician, including Geagea, capable of garnering the required majority to win the presidency, as well as a lack of agreement on a consensus figure, Lebanon is poised to plunge into a presidential vacuum.

Meanwhile, former PM and head of the Future bloc Fouad Siniora met with U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon David Hale.

Hale had said that the international community would help the country hold the election on time without influencing the electoral process. He along with other foreign ambassadors had pressed on the importance of electing a president within the constitutional time frame.

Political sources told The Daily Star Thursday that they expected the presidential vacuum to last a few months with any hope of a breakthrough hinging on regional and international intervention.

British Ambassador Tom Fletcher met with Speaker Nabih Berri in Ain el-Tineh and discussed the presidential stalemate.

After the meeting, Fletcher said it was sad that time was running out for lawmakers to elect a new president within the Constitutional time frame.

He also said that Lebanese leaders were responsible for finding means to prevent a long-term vacuum in the presidential seat.

He expressed hope that Lebanese politicians reach an agreement in the last hours on Sunday, saying Britain and the international community vowed to help Lebanon remove obstacles facing the electoral process.

 

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Summary

Lebanese and foreign officials Friday held talks on the fate of the presidential election, only two days before President Michel Sleiman is set to leave office with no sign of an agreement on a successor.

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea discussed the next steps in the presidential election with an aide of former Prime Minister Saad Hairi Friday.

According to the LF, Geagea and former MP Ghattas Khoury met at his residence in Maarab for an hour.

They discussed recent developments in the presidential election, focusing on the fifth boycott of the Parliament session to choose a new head of state by some March 8 politicians.

With no politician, including Geagea, capable of garnering the required majority to win the presidency, as well as a lack of agreement on a consensus figure, Lebanon is poised to plunge into a presidential vacuum.


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