Lebanon fails to elect president for 17th time since April

Published January 7th, 2015 - 12:59 GMT

Speaker Nabih Berri Wednesday postponed Lebanon's presidential election to Jan. 28 after legislators failed for a 17th time to elect a new head of state amid lack of consensus.

The scene at Parliament was the same as the previous 16 attempts, with a lack of quorum prompting Berri to postpone the vote.

Only 47 lawmakers from Berri’s parliamentary bloc and the Future Movement-led March 14 coalition showed up for Wednesday’s session.

MPs from the Hezbollah-led March 8 have boycotted the election sessions due to lack of consensus on a presidential candidate.

Quorum was met during the first legislative session to elect a president in April, but no candidate received enough votes to win.

Seven months after the end of former President Michel Sleiman's term, Lebanon's parliamentary blocs have repeatedly failed to elect a new head of state.

Meanwhile, the Council of Maronite Bishops renewed concerns over the future of Lebanon amid the ongoing presidential vacuum.

“Lebanon’s future is not promising if the country continues to be a hostage to regional axes and internal [axes] arising there from and the ongoing disruption of the presidential election,” the bishops said in a statement at the end of their monthly meeting Wednesday.

They urged MPs to carry out their constitutional duties over the presidential election.

“The longer the [presidential] void, the more Lebanon is exposed both internally and externally,” the bishops warned.

In turn, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea held lawmakers boycotting the voting session responsible for the paralysis in the country.

“Authority remains incomplete without a head of state,” Geagea said at a news conference from his headquarters in Maarab, north of Beirut.

“The easiest solution would be for MPs to go to Parliament and elect a president,” he said. “This would be a Lebanon-made solution.”

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