Lebanon elections fail yet again: Salam stresses importance of dialogue

Published August 8th, 2016 - 11:48 GMT
Lebanon has been without a president since the term of President Michel Suleiman ended in May 2014. (AFP/File)
Lebanon has been without a president since the term of President Michel Suleiman ended in May 2014. (AFP/File)

Prime Minister Tammam Salam stated on Monday that although dialogue among the political parties may not be reaping the desired effect, only it is necessary to contain the tension among the rival sides, as he urged the Christian leaders to name a new candidate as head of state, As Safir daily reported.

"Dialogue absorbs tension and political collision in the country which does not produce solutions starting with the election of a president," Salam told the daily in an interview.

Stressing the need for talks, he wondered whether the situation in the country would be better off without it, he asked: "Is there an alternative, and would the country be better off without dialogue?"

"Lebanon is based on it whether it has reached the desired results or not," he added.

Salam was referring to the national dialogue sessions, the latest was last week, that failed to reach a clear agreement on major issues including the presidential election, a new electoral system and the formation of a new government.

The interlocutors scheduled another meeting on September 5.

On the other hand, the Premier stressed the need to push the Christian Maronite leaders to agree on a new candidate for the presidential post in order to "spare the country of danger," An Nahar daily reported.

Salam pointed out to the 1976 presidential elections when none of the three candidates that were running for the presidential race then, including Camille Chamoun, Raymond Edde and Pierre Gemayel, garnered the consensus of political parties.

They decided to support a fourth candidate, Elias Sarkis, "which was a relief for the country," said Salam.

Lebanon has been without a president since the term of President Michel Suleiman ended in May 2014.

Hizbullah, MP Michel Aoun's Change and Reform bloc and some of their allies have been boycotting the parliament's electoral sessions, stripping them of the needed quorum.

Hariri, who is close to Saudi Arabia, launched an initiative in late 2015 to nominate Marada Movement chief MP Suleiman Franjieh for the presidency but his proposal was met with reservations from the country's main Christian parties as well as Hizbullah.

The supporters of Aoun's presidential bid argue that he is more eligible than Franjieh to become president due to the size of his parliamentary bloc and his bigger influence in the Christian community.


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