Lebanon suspends presidential election session until October 21

Published September 30th, 2015 - 05:31 GMT

Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri Wednesday adjourned the 29th presidential election session to Oct. 21 due to lack of quorum.

Around 43 lawmakers arrived at the assembly, while the legal quorum requires the presence of 86 lawmakers, a source told The Daily Star.

“We are seeking the election of a consensual president who should be able to bring the Lebanese together,” head of the Future Bloc Fouad Siniora told reporters at Parliament.

He underlined that any compromise should be done within the law.

Lebanese Forces deputy chief MP George Adwan rejected the “destruction of the Constitution under the pretext of settlements.”

“We should replace the word settlement with an approach that is based on the Constitution and the law, and falls within the military institution’s best interest,” he added.

Officials are exerting efforts to reach a deal over the promotions of senior army officers, which is a key demand of the Free Patriotic Movement to revive the role of Parliament and the government.

Change and Reform Bloc leader MP Michel "Aoun's dictatorship will lead to nowhere," Future MP Ahmad Fatfat told reporters at the Parliament.

MPs from Aoun’s bloc and its Hezbollah allies have thwarted a quorum since April 2014 by boycotting parliamentary sessions.

He lashed out at the "team (Hezbollah and most of its March 8 allies) that is boycotting the presidential sessions."

Fatfat said the boycotters “claim that they are keen to preserve the presidency but continue to obstruct the elections at the same time."

Separately, activists held a silent protest near the Samir Kassir garden in Downtown Beirut to demand the election of a new head of state. The sit-in was organized by a new movement called “The Dialogue Table of Civil Society.”

Lawmakers have failed in 28 consecutive sessions to elect a successor to former President Michel Sleiman, whose term ended on May 25, 2014.

The first election in May achieved quorum, but there was no consensus.

The failure to elect a successor to Sleiman has plunged the country into a presidential impasse that has paralyzed Parliament and threatens to collapse the Cabinet.

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