MPs Discuss Suleiman’s Presidential Appeal amid Hizbullah Boycott

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Parliament convened on Wednesday to discuss a message sent by President Michel Suleiman on the presidential deadlock despite the boycott of Hizbullah’s Loyalty to the Resistance bloc lawmakers.

Suleiman urged lawmakers in his message last week to act in accordance with the Constitution to elect a new head of state.

He said the lawmakers should act in conformity with the laws to meet Constitutional deadlines “to avoid the dangers that could result from the failure to elect a president for the Lebanese Republic by May 25.”

There are fears that the vacuum in the country’s top Christian post would affect Lebanon’s power-sharing agreement under which the president should be a Maronite, the premier a Sunni and the speaker a Shiite.

Hizbullah and most of its allies in the March 8 alliance have been boycotting parliamentary sessions aimed at electing a new president over claims that there should be a prior agreement on a candidate.

But Change and Reform bloc lawmakers attended Wednesday’s session, resulting in a quorum of 65 MPs, the state-run National News Agency reported.

“I will call for a parliamentary session on the first day of vacuum if there is a vacancy in the president’s post,” Berri told lawmakers.

“There is no need to specify certain dates for sessions because I am ready to invite (MPs) whenever I see that there would be quorum,” he said.

Ahead of Wednesday’s session, Berri met with Prime Minister Tammam Salam, who briefed him on the results of his two-day official visit to Saudi Arabia.

The speaker also held separate talks with Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat and Education Minister Elias Bou Saab.

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