Lebanon's Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri on Wednesday abandoned the idea of convening the various political groups to a dialogue session on the presidential election, an initiative he had been advocating in order to find a consensus on a successor to Michel Aoun, whose term in office ended on Monday.
Lebanon has since Tuesday been in a total executive power vacuum, without a president and with a cabinet that resigned following parliamentary elections in May and is therefore acting in a caretaker capacity.
"After consulting the opinions around the invitation to dialogue between parliamentary groups to elect a consensual president, President Berri apologizes for not being able to pursue this direction following the opposition expressed by two groups: the Lebanese Forces and the Free Patriotic Movement," the head of the Parliament's office said in a brief statement.
In the first four parliamentary sessions devoted to the presidential election, MPs failed to elect a new president. Berri did not call for a new electoral session, but had advocated a dialogue between the different parliamentary groups. This proposal was rejected by several political groups.
President Berri, also head of the Amal Movement, regularly calls for a "consensus," as does his ally Hezbollah. The two parties do not want a president who is hostile to them, while the opposition forces, such as the LF, some independents and some MPs of the popular protest, are calling for the election of a president who stands up to Hezbollah.