BEIRUT — Nabil Kaouk, a member of Hezbollah's Central Council, said on Sunday that the parties and MPs who wanted the election of a president who would be "defiant" toward the resistance have "failed," warning that such a project could cause "sedition," the state-run National News Agency reported.
Samir Geagea, the leader of the Lebanese Forces, a party opposed to Hezbollah and its weapons, on Aug. 15, 2020 called for the election of a president who "defies" the Shiite party and its weapons. More than two years later, MPs from the LF and several other parties, such as the Progressive Socialist Party of Druze leader Walid Joumblatt, along with several MPs from the protest movement, have repeatedly put their support behind the candidacy of MP Michel Moawad at Parliament sessions dedicated to the election of Lebanon's next president.
However, Moawad has so far failed to secure the 86 votes (a two-thirds majority) needed to be elected in the first round of voting, while MPs from Hezbollah and its allies have been leaving Parliament after the first-round vote at each session, thereby slashing the quorum necessary to proceed with a second-round vote, in which 65 votes (an absolute majority) would be enough to elect a new head of state.
In a speech delivered at a ceremony in Kfar Sir, South Lebanon, Kaouk reiterated his call for the election of a president "whose priority is to save Lebanon from the worst and from total collapse."
"The team that has made defiance and confrontation its slogan is opposed to more than half of the Lebanese people," he stated, adding that these parties "have announced a slogan that is beyond them, with which they are not satisfied with stabbing the resistance in the back, but want a face to face confrontation. With this, they want to lead the country to sedition."
"They have tried seven times in Parliament to elect a confrontational and defiant president but they have failed and it is time for them to admit that they do not have the capacity. This logic only leads to a dead end," continued Kaouk, calling on the opposition parties "to accept the idea that the country needs dialogue and national consensus" to elect a president.
The presidential seat has been vacant since the end of Michel Aoun's term in office on Oct. 31. Since the beginning of the election period in late August, seven parliamentary sessions have been held to elect a new president, to no avail. While Lebanon is without a head of state, it also finds itself confronting a power vacuum at the governmental level, with Najib Mikati's cabinet serving in a caretaker capacity since its assumption of that status following parliamentary elections in May.