Michel Aoun speaks in Rabieh, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015. (The Daily Star/Charbel Nakhoul, HO)
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Hezbollah Friday called on rival factions to reach an internal deal to end the presidential vacuum, rather than wait for foreign powers to decide on Lebanon's next president, in a clear rebuff to Prime Minister Tammam Salam, who has appealed to the international community to help elect a new head of state.The diametrically opposed positions between Salam and Hezbollah on the presidential deadlock, now in its third year, come a few days before Parliament is set to meet in the 45th attempt in more than two years to choose a successor to former President Michel Sleiman, whose six-year mandate ended in May 2014 .Future Movement MP Ammar Houri accused Iran and Hezbollah of blocking the election of a president.The presidential race is currently pitting Aoun, who is backed by Hezbollah, some of its March 8 allies and the Lebanese Forces, against Marada Movement leader MP Sleiman Frangieh, who is supported by Berri, Hariri, MP Walid Jumblatt and some independent lawmakers.Hezbollah's deputy head Sheikh Naim Qassem and other party officials have called on the Future Movement and its March 14 allies to elect Aoun as president as the only way to end the presidential void.
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