Berri Invites Parliament to Elect New President Next Wednesday

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Speaker Nabih Berri called on Wednesday for a parliamentary session to elect a new president on April 23.

The session is scheduled to be held at 12:00 pm.

Berri has said that a candidate should receive a two-thirds of votes to win in the first round of elections and half-plus-one or 65 votes of the 128-member parliament to win in the second round.

President Michel Suleiman’s six-year term ends on May 25. But the Constitutional deadline for parliament to start convening to elect a new head of state started on March 25.

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi, who had repeatedly called on the speaker to invite for a session to avoid vacuum, received a phone call from Berri informing him about his decision.

A statement said that Berri and al-Rahi discussed the presidential elections and the latest developments in Lebanon.

Under the 1943 power-sharing agreement, the president should be a Maronite, the prime minister a Sunni and the speaker a Shiite.

Only Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea, a Maronite Christian, has officially announced his candidacy.

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