Lebanon fails to elect new president over lack of quorum

Beirut, Sep 2 (IANS) The Lebanese parliament failed on Wednesday for the 28th consecutive time to convene and elect a new president because of lack of the constitutionally required quorum.

Speaker Nabih Berri postponed the polls until Sept. 30, according to a statement by his media office, Xinhua reported.

Lebanon has been without a president since May 25, 2014 when the six-year term of former president Michel Suleiman ended.

Ongoing disputes between the rival March 8 and 14 camps over a compromise presidential candidate have thwarted the polls.

The western backed March 14 camp backs the election of the Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea, while the March 8 camp led by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militant party backs the election of head of the Change and Reform parliamentary bloc MP Michel Aoun.

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

None of the rival camps have the majority to elect the president that should be according to the national pact a Christian Maronite.

In Wednesday’s session, Berri called on the various heads of the parliamentary blocs for a dialogue session on Sept. 9 to discuss the outstanding political issues, including the election of a new president as a priority.

He stressed the importance of dialogue to resolve pending disputes in Lebanon, saying that the presidential election and a parliamentary electoral law are the primary issues that need to be discussed.

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