Hezbollah to boycott upcoming parliamentary session

Published May 21st, 2014 - 10:41 GMT

Hezbollah MPs will boycott a parliamentary session Thursday to elect a successor to President Michel Sleiman, whose terms ends May 25.

“Lawmakers from [Hezbollah’s] Loyalty to the Resistance bloc will not attend tomorrow’s session,” Industry Minister Hussein Hajj Hasan told The Daily Star.

MPs from Michel Aoun’s parliamentary Change and Reform bloc have also said they would not attend the session in the absence of any agreement over a consensus candidate.

Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri has called for Parliament to meet Thursday to vote for a new president, after lawmakers botched four attempts in less than a month due to a lack of quorum to elect Sleiman's successor.

In the absence of an agreement between the Future Movement-led March 14 and the Hezbollah-led March 8 coalitions over a consensus candidate to break the impasse, Thursday’s session is likely to fail.

Hezbollah MPs also boycotted a meeting Wednesday to discuss Sleiman’s appeal to lawmakers to elect a new president to avert a presidential vacuum.

Sleiman, whose six-year mandate expires on May 25, sent a letter last week to Parliament urging lawmakers to elect a new president to avoid the risks that would ensue if a successor is not elected this week.

The letter stresses the importance of holding the presidential election on time.

Berri, who chaired Wednesday’s session, said the Constitution gave Sleiman the right to send the plea.

“At the beginning of the session, the letter will be read to lawmakers who will then decide on it,” the speaker said.

MPs from Aoun’s bloc attended Wednesday’s session, according to their sources, some MPs were expected to criticise Sleiman because they believe the letter targets them.


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