Lebanon fails again to elect new president

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BEIRUT,  (Xinhua) — The Lebanese parliament failed Wednesday in its 44th consecutive session to elect a new president for the lack of the constitutionally required quorum.

Speaker Nabih Berri called for a new session on Sept. 28 after only 41 MPs of the 128-seat parliament were present for Wednesday’s session.

Lebanon has been without the head of state since the term of former President Michel Suleiman ended in May 2014.

According to the constitution, the required quorum is two thirds of the 128-seat parliament, and the president should be elected with two thirds of the votes in the first round and with a simple majority in the following rounds.

A sharp political division has hindered so far the election of a president.

Following the presidential vacancy, the March 14 western-Saudi backed camp announced the candidacy of the Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea to the post, and the March 8 Syrian-Iranian backed camp backed the candidacy of the Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun to the post.

The centrist Democratic Gathering bloc led by MP Walid Jumblatt announced the candidacy of its member MP Henri Helou.

But in a sharp move to end the deadlock, former PM Saad Hariri, leader of al-Mustaqbal Movement and the March 14 camp, launched an initiative to elect leader of the al-Marada Movement MP Suleiman Frangieh to the presidency.

This move was met with a sharp shift from Geagea who announced backing Aoun for the presidency.

According to the national pact, the president should be a Christian Maronite, the speaker a Muslim Shiite and the prime minister a Muslim Sunni.

Since the presidential vacancy, the government of Prime Minister Tammam Salam has been running the country, but is facing numerous problems including the resignation of the justice minister and the economy minister.

Editor: Mu Xuequan