The departing president sets a standard by staying in line with the Constitution
Lebanon plunged into a presidential vacuum at midnight with the end of [former] President Michel Sleiman's term and his departure from Baabda Palace. Although the coming phase will be dominated by the unknown, it will not overshadow the political, constitutional and national meanings of such a departure.
The 12th president exited Baabda Palace in a way that impressed the majority of Lebanese, as well as foreign and Arab diplomats, with Sleiman insisting on respecting the Constitution by rejecting any extension to his term vis–à–vis disruptions of parliamentary sessions to elect a new president.
An-Nahar has obtained information saying that foreign ambassadors of major countries tried to convince Sleiman to agree to an extension in the last few days before the end of his term, to no avail.
Sleiman says liberation is missing in the absence of sovereignty
[Former] President Michel Sleiman gave his farewell speech and departed, leaving behind a vacuum in the presidency. His supporters shed tears, upset both over the end of his term, in which he restored the prestige to the presidential seat, and the vacuum which the Lebanese have experienced twice before, in 1988 and 2008.
The Lebanese people bid farewell yesterday to their president, amid fears of what is to come given that there is still no hope of a successor soon.
Meanwhile, March 14 coalition MPs headed to Parliament to elect a new president before the end of the Constitutional deadline. Speaker Nabih Berri attended the failed session and met with a number of lawmakers, telling them that legislation was the duty of MPs and promising them that the general secretariat of Parliament would only place "primary" items on the legislative agenda.
U.N. Security Council expected to call for the election of a new president
While diplomats are working relentlessly to bring political parties to an agreement and secure quorum for a parliament session to elect a new president, they and others are waiting for MP Michel Aoun's news conference Monday, when he is expected to explain his position on whether he will boycott future legislative sessions in the absence of a president. He will also say whether he believes the Cabinet will have any prerogative in the absence of a president, according to the Constitution.
There are also efforts to convince Aoun to abandon his undeclared candidacy to pave the way for discussion on a new candidate between the March 8 and the March 14 coalitions.
During his farewell speech, Sleiman spoke about Liberation Day and said that the memory is a moment for pride in Lebanon, praising those who risked their lives for the liberation of the land.
He also said that liberation was not fulfilled while there is no sovereignty, adding that a national defense strategy was one of the main pillars for building a state.