Lebanese Parliament Fails Anew to Elect President as Geagea Calls for Holding Hizbullah, FPM Accountable


Lebanese Parliament Fails Anew to Elect President as Geagea Calls for Holding Hizbullah, FPM Accountable
Naharnet/20.11.14/The presidential election session was postponed for the sixteenth time on Wednesday following a lack of quorum at parliament as Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea reiterated his accusation that the Change and Reform bloc was obstructing the polls.
Speaker Nabih Berri scheduled the new electoral session for December 10. This is the fifteenth time the elections was postponed over a lack of quorum. The first session was held, but none of the candidates received the sufficient amount of votes to be elected president.
Geagea declared in a press conference that Hizbullah and the Change and Reform bloc are responsible for the deadlock, demanding that they be held accountable for their actions.
“The Change and Reform bloc is hindering the polls by forcing us to choose between a strong president or vacuum,” he added. “We disagree with the bloc on its view of a strong president. Their candidate may be strong in his recklessness as demonstrated during some civil war incidents,” he said in reference to bloc chief MP Michel Aoun. “No one had the right to force others to function according to their whims,” noted Geagea, who is a presidential candidate. “The Change and Reform bloc has yet to return to its conscience and rectify the political situation in Lebanon,” he lamented. Moreover, he remarked that Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah had announced recently that Aoun was the March 8 camp’s presidential candidate, “so why didn’t their MPs head to parliament and elect him?”
“A large number of our problems will be solved with the election of a president. It will rid us of this government, end the concept of the extension of parliament’s term, and breathe life into our economy,” said the LF leader.
Addressing renewed discussions on the new parliamentary electoral law, Geagea said: “A new law will serve all the factions and ease tensions.”He added that following the extension of parliament’s term, the LF had agreed with Berri to resume the meetings of the committee tasked with devising a new law. “Each party should propose its own electoral law and then each draft-law would be subject to a vote. The one with the greatest support will be adopted,” he explained. “The Change and Reform bloc has however started hindering these efforts by demanding an explanation of Article 24 of the constitution,” he revealed. “Why is the bloc now demanding the explanation of this article? It enjoyed a majority in the cabinet of former PM Najib Miqati and could have tackled the case back then,” he noted.
Lebanon has been without a president since May when the term of Michel Suleiman ended. Hizbullah and the Change and Reform bloc have been boycotting electoral sessions due to a disagreement with the March 14 camp over a compromise presidential candidate.
Geagea had previously accused them of adopting such measures in order to blackmail political blocs into electing Aoun as president. Despite the ongoing rift over the Christian’s most prominent post at the state, lawmakers attended earlier this month a session to extend their tenure. The MPs voted once again to delay parliamentary elections and extended their mandate until 2017, which was met by a huge popular dismay. The session however was boycotted by Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement lawmakers and the Kataeb Party, which is affiliated to the March 14 alliance. In May 2013, the parliament voted to extend its own mandate for 17 months after the rival political parties failed to reach a deal on a new electoral law other than the one based on 50 small-sized districts in a winner-takes-all system.