The 35th session to elect a president was postponed on Monday following a lack of quorum at parliament as officials voiced their ongoing disappointment with some blocs' boycott of the polls.
Speaker Nabih Berri scheduled a new electoral session for March 2.
Telecommunications Minister Butros Harb lamented after the failed meeting the current state of democracy in Lebanon, calling for an amendment to the constitution that forces lawmakers to attend the polls.
Marada Movement chief MP Suleiman Franjieh noted Sunday that he would only pull out of the presidential race should al-Mustaqbal movement leader ex-PM Saad Hariri decide to back Change and Reform bloc chief MP Michel Aoun's nomination.
“When ex-PM Hariri decides to back General Aoun, I will withdraw my nomination,” said Franjieh in remarks to NBN television.
“I will not concede to Aoun unless the possibility of him winning the presidency becomes guaranteed,” he added, stressing that he is not willing to risk losing his own nomination.
A parliamentary committee tasked with devising a new electoral law concluded its meetings Thursday and is set to refer a report to the parliament which in turn will refer it to the parliament bureau for discussions.
“The committee tasked with drafting a new electoral law ended its discussions on the file and will refer it to the parliament which in turn will refer to the parliament bureau for deliberations,” the state-run National News Agency reported.
The Vatican has expressed its satisfaction with the latest rapprochement between the Lebanese Forces and the Free Patriotic Movement, reiterating its warning that the Baabda Palace vacuum puts the Christians in danger.
Maronite Bishop of Beirut Boulos Matar told al-Joumhouria daily published on Tuesday that the meetings of Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi in Rome “have been positive.”
“The Vatican believes that the Christian reconciliation meeting, which took place in Maarab, helps the presidential elections,” he said.
A Hizbullah delegation led by senior official Wafiq Safa visited the founder of the Free Patriotic Movement MP Michel Aoun and reiterated the party's adamant stance in backing him for the top state post despite other competitors in the presidential race, An Nahar daily reported on Tuesday.
The newspaper said that Safa has restated “the party's unwavering backing for Aoun even if the Marada chief MP Suleiman Franjieh remained a candidate.”
Al-Mustaqbal chief ex-PM Saad Hariri has informed his movement's officials that Saudi Arabia continues to veto the candidacy of Free Patriotic Movement founder MP Michel Aoun for the presidency, al-Akhbar daily reported on Wednesday.
Several officials, including al-Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc leader MP Fouad Saniora, traveled to Saudi Arabia on Monday following Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea's endorsement of Aoun.
Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea announced on Monday his support for his rival Change and Reform bloc chief MP Michel Aoun as president after weeks of speculation.
He declared during a joint press conference with the MP at Maarab: “I declare, after thorough assessment among the LF, the nomination of MP Michel Aoun as president.”
“The LF does not take impulsive or spontaneous decisions, but takes them after deep reflection,” he noted in an indirect reference to Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc chief MP Fouad Saniora.
Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil stressed Sunday that “nothing justifies postponing the parliamentary polls,” as the FPM held unprecedented internal elections based on the “proportional representation” system.
Bassil voiced his remarks during an inspection tour that saw him visit Akkar, Baalbek-Hermel, Jezzine, Jbeil, Keserwan, Beirut and Aley.
The FPM's polls were aimed at electing regional committees.
The Lebanese Forces has informed the March 14 alliance that the LF would back Change and Reform bloc leader MP Michel Aoun for the presidency, An Nahar daily reported on Monday.
The newspaper said that LF lawmaker George Adwan made the announcement on his party's serious intention to back Aoun during a meeting that was held by the coalition’s leaders on Sunday night.
Adwan urged them “to deal with this option calmly,” it said.
The 34th session to elect a president has been postponed on Thursday due to the lack of quorum at parliament.
Speaker Nabih Berri scheduled a new electoral session for February 8.
MP Marwan Hamadeh said after failed elections: “The number of lawmakers present at the failed session reflects the pessimism over the possibility to elect a head of state.”
MTV said that some 36 MPs were present at parliament.
The 33rd presidential elections session was postponed on Wednesday following a lack of quorum at parliament.
Speaker Nabih Berri scheduled the next session to January 7.
Following the postponement, Mustaqbal bloc leader MP Fouad Saniora warned: “The ongoing vacuum will lead to more dangers against Lebanon.”
“The ongoing vacuum will compound the internal problems in the country on various levels,” he added.
BEIRUT // For more than 18 months, political gridlock and ceaseless bickering has left Lebanon without a president.
In a country where politicians cannot come to an agreement on the most basic things, such as how to get rid of the rubbish that has piled up in the capital’s streets for months, choosing a president from the small pool of Christian former warlords, military officers, businessmen and feudal leaders who are eligible for the post and command political clout is a tall order.
The parliamentary session to elect a new president was postponed on Wednesday for the 32nd time following a lack of quorum at the session.
Speaker Nabih Berri scheduled December 16 as the next date for the polls.
Following the meeting, Lebanese Forces MP Georges Adwan declared: “We do not judge candidates, but their presidential platforms.”
The expected presidential nomination of Marada Movement leader MP Suleiman Franjieh is a result of a “regional-international” deal aimed at preventing chaos from taking over Lebanon, reported al-Akhbar newspaper on Tuesday.
A ministerial source told the daily that “there is a 75 percent chance that this deal will go ahead.”
On Change and Reform bloc MP Michel Aoun's stance on the nomination, it said: “We are faced with a fateful issue and there is a need to cater to Aoun's concerns, which Hizbullah should attend to.”
The parliamentary committee tasked with devising a new electoral law will hold its first meeting on Monday, reported An Nahar daily on Friday.
It said that the committee was scheduled to meet on Tuesday, but it decided to hold it on Monday instead.
The panel was formed in the wake of the a legislative session that was held on November 12 and 13.
It has around two months to come up with a new law.
A meeting between Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil and Hizbullah leader's political assistant Hajj Hussein Khalil has reportedly took place late on Wednesday where talks tackled the latest developments at the presidential level, reports said.
Despite the latest settlement that saw the possible nomination of Marada leader MP Suleiman Franjieh for the top state post, Hizbullah continues to support its sole candidate MP Michel Aoun, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Thursday.
U.S. President Barack Obama has called on Lebanese leaders to exert urgent efforts to put an end to the ongoing presidential vacuum, in a letter he sent to Prime Minister Tammam Salam on the occasion of Lebanon's Independence Day.
“For the sake of Lebanon's stability and security, now is the time for Lebanese leaders to act in the national interest and elect a president,” said Obama in the letter that was distributed by the U.S. embassy on Tuesday.
Head of the Change and Reform bloc MP Michel Aoun noted that Marada Movement chief MP Suleiman Franjieh has the needed characteristics to become president, adding that he is willing to back his bid for the presidency, reported As Safir newspaper on Tuesday.
His visitors told the daily that the lawmaker is “willing to give his blessing to Franjieh's candidacy if he garners the necessary votes at parliament.”