BEIRUT: The March 14 coalition’s readiness to hold talks over the election of a consensus candidate will make way for an agreement over the upcoming president, the Future Movement said Tuesday.
The national compromise initiative will not only facilitate the election of a president but will also “achieve national cohesion and reinforce stability,” said a statement released by the Movement after their weekly meeting.
In a decision announced earlier Tuesday, the March 14 coalition expressed its readiness to hold direct talks with all Lebanese parties – even Hezbollah – on a consensus presidential candidate. The development came just before MPs failed for the 11th time to elect a new president, with many March 8 coalition lawmakers failing to show up and preventing a quorum for the session being secured.
The importance of the newly announced compromise falls in line with the Future Movement’s states belief that the “election of a new president is a task that is more important than any of Parliament’s other tasks."
The election of a consensus candidate, according to the Future bloc, will also reinforce the state’s ability to confront imminent threats such as that of extremist groups gathering in the outskirts of the Lebanese border town of Arsal.
This security dilemma will not only require a president, but will also necessitate the dispatch of Army soldiers and UNIFIL forces along Lebanon’s border with Syria, said the statement.
The Future Movement reiterated the call for Resolution 1701, brought in to end the 2006 Lebanon-Israel war, to be implemented along the country’s borders with Syria since "the danger posed by the growth of terrorist groups prompts the government to resort to U.N. forces."
The bloc warned that “using militia security devices” to protect the northern border would “complicate the situation” and would also “divide the domestic front.”
Lebanon’s border with Syria has been the subject of intense security concerns, especially after clashes between militants and Army soldiers in Arsal earlier this month led to the kidnapping of at least 29 security personnel.
The future movement stressed that full confidence should be given to the Prime Minister and Cabinet over the case of the abducted security personnel, 23 of whom are still being held hostage.
Separately, the bloc condoned the power cuts in the country, calling on relevant parties to place the sector on the “right track” by implementing “feasible solutions."
The bloc also condemned the “burning of flags and slogans” and “other religious symbols,” a reference to the burning of ISIS flags in Achrafieh last Saturday.