Lebanese MPs head to parliament in 40th attempt to elect President

Published June 2nd, 2016 - 10:30 GMT
Lebanese MPs seen casting ballots in a parliamentary session. (AFP/File)
Lebanese MPs seen casting ballots in a parliamentary session. (AFP/File)

Lebanese lawmakers headed to Parliament Thursday to attend the 40th session aimed at electing a new head of state, with little hope of ending the two-year presidential void.

Dozens of MPs, mainly from the March 14 coalition, arrived at the Parliament in Beirut’s Nejmeh Square to attend the session. Kataeb Party leader Sami Gemayel was among the first to arrive.

The previous 39 sessions have so far failed to secure the needed quorum to fill the presidency, which has been empty since former President Michel Sleiman's tenure ended in May 2014.

Over two years into the crisis, the power vacuum has largely paralyzed Parliament and threatened the work of the Cabinet.

Hezbollah and its allies, the Change and Reform bloc lead by MP Michel Aoun, have been boycotting the sessions.

Marada Movement leader Sleiman Frangieh, who was tipped by his rival Future Movement leader Saad Hariri to run for office, also abstained from attending the session to conform with the stance of its March 8 allies.

The presidential race is pitting Frangieh against Aoun, who is backed by Hezbollah, some of its March 8 allies and the Lebanese Forces. Berri and MP Walid Jumblatt also back Frangieh’s presidential bid, along with some independent lawmakers.

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