BEIRUT — Lebanon's opposition MPs held a meeting in Parliament on Tuesday to "break the wall of obstruction" and discuss approaches toward electing a new president for the country, with no agreement on a single candidate, Forces of Change MP Mark Daou told L'Orient Today.
"We will leave the MPs the freedom [of choice] in that matter for now, while this is still the first meeting we hold," adding that the opposition will discuss a consensus approach on a single name in the meetings to follow.
Lebanon entered an executive double vacancy when former President Michel Aoun's term ended on Oct.31. No candidate has yet been elected to succeed Aoun, while premier Najib Mikati's cabinet has been in caretaker status since the May legislative elections.
'Our goal is to bring points of view closer'
Tuesday's opposition meeting was meant to discuss the presidential election ahead of the sixth parliamentary session devoted to the election of a new president, which is scheduled to place Thursday.
Daou told L'Orient Today that 19 MPs were present at the meeting, including MPs from the Kataeb, Watan al-Insan, The National Coalition and Forces of Change blocs, as well as some independent MPs and the Renewal group — led by Michel Moawad, who received 44 votes in the last parliamentary session.
According to Daou, the Forces of Change MPs who attended the meeting were: Elias Jradeh, Yassine Yassine, Rami Fenj, Michel Doueihy, Najat Saliba, and Waddah Sadek.
"Our goal is not only to agree on one name but it is to bring points of view closer to each other, whether those concerned with our parliamentary work from legislation sessions or our work in the committees, to the election of a president," Daou added.
The Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) and its ally, Hezbollah, as well as the Amal Movement, have repeatedly cast blank ballots during the electoral session. Lebanon entered the presidential election period on Sept. 1, but Berri waited until Sept. 29 to call the first electoral session. Faced with a camp united behind Hezbollah and still voting blank to due a lack of agreement on a single candidate, opposition groups remain drowned in their differences, accentuated by the schism within the Forces of Change bloc.
"We discussed the priority of electing a new president for the republic and the importance of coordinating with each other," Daou added, stressing that "despite the various opposing opinions, [the MPs] are willing to have a dialogue, and to expedite the process of electing a president."
'Breaking the wall of obstruction'
In a statement released following the meeting, the MPs stated that the "participants in this meeting gave absolute priority to breaking the wall of obstruction and heading immediately to electing a president for the republic as a gateway to reorganizing institutions in the implementation of the constitution and saving Lebanon."
The opposition MPs also warned in their statement against "the danger of diving into legislative sessions that would be a factor in perpetuating the presidential vacancy," adding that they also "decided to form a follow-up committee comprised of representatives to raise the level of coordination and preparation for the next stage." The statement did not mention an agreed-upon candidate.
The international community has repeatedly called on Lebanon to put an end to the total vacuum at the executive level, pleading for the election of a new president without further delay.
BEIRUT — Lebanon's opposition MPs held a meeting in Parliament on Tuesday to "break the wall of obstruction" and discuss approaches toward electing a new president for the country, with no agreement on a single candidate, Forces of Change MP Mark Daou told L'Orient Today."We will leave the MPs the freedom [of choice] in that matter for now, while this is still the first meeting we hold,"...