Lebanon News

Hezbollah's number two urges consensus over presidency

File- Hezbollah's deputy leader Sheikh Naim Qassem speaks in front of students at the LU in Hadath. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)

BEIRUT: Hezbollah’s deputy head Sheikh Naim Qassem Wednesday indirectly urged the March 14 coalition to reach an accord with its March 8 rivals on a consensus candidate to help break the presidential stalemate.

He ruled out the election of a successor to former President Michel Sleiman unless there was an agreement beforehand between the March 8 and March 14 camps on a consensus candidate for the presidency.

“We are clear: The presidential election in Lebanon cannot take place without an agreement,” Qassem told an Islamic event ceremony south of Beirut.

Referring to March 14 lawmakers who had attended five aborted Parliament sessions to pick a successor to Sleiman and the March 14 nomination of Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea for the country’s top Christian post, he said: “These tricks will not lead to any real result with regard to the election of a president.”

“Those who want the election of a president today and not tomorrow must follow the agreement path. Those who do not take this path, no matter what they do, will only reap a lot of political media rhetoric,” Qassem added.

His remarks came as the country plunged into a presidential vacuum after Parliament failed in five attempts to elect a successor to Sleiman, whose six-year term ended last Sunday.

Parliament was unable to meet to elect a president due to a lack of the two-thirds quorum (86) of the legislature’s 128 members required to begin the session.

Lawmakers from MP Michel Aoun’s Change and Reform bloc, Hezbollah and its March 8 allies have foiled a quorum by boycotting the sessions, apparently to pressure their March 14 rivals into reaching an agreement on a consensus candidate for the presidency. – The Daily Star





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