Berri and Salam speak during the national dialogue in Ain al-Tineh, Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2016. (The Daily Star/Lebanese Parliament Website, HO)
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Efforts have been launched to find a third presidential choice other than the two main rival contenders, MPs Michel Aoun and Sleiman Frangieh, two ministers said Friday, in the latest attempt to end the more than 2-year-old power vacuum that has thrown Parliament and the government into disarray.Asked who is undertaking these efforts, Derbas, who is close to Salam, said: "French and European Union officials, in addition to some local players". He added that Frangieh, who is standing in the presidential race against Aoun, said during last week's national dialogue sessions that he is ready to drop out of the battle if there were consensus on another candidate. Labor Minister Sejaan Azzi said fading hopes for the election one of the four top Maronite leaders – Aoun, Frangieh, Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea and former President Amine Gemayel – as president, prompted calls to search for a new candidate.Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, also head of the Free Patriotic Movement, warned this week of a prolonged presidential vacuum if Aoun was not elected president.Salam was quoted as saying that there were at least ten candidates qualified to be elected president.
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