BEIRUT — Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea on Wednesday lashed out at Parliament Speaker and Amal Movement leader Nabih Berri, accusing him and Hezbollah of contributing to the presidential election "paralysis," the state-run National News Agency reported.
The 10 previous presidential election sessions held by Parliament were each adjourned in the second round of voting due to a lack of quorum. A quorum was lost after several MPs — mainly belonging to Hezbollah, the Amal Movement and their allies — exited Parliament after the first vote. The eleventh session scheduled for Thursday is likely to have a similar outcome, given the lack of political agreement.
"The next parliamentary session for the presidential election will be similar to those that preceded it because the same logic prevails," Geagea said at a political meeting. "Given the current situation, the axis of the [Hezbollah and their allies] will continue to block the electoral sessions, and Berri is aiding them in this blocking."
Lebanon has been without a president since Michel Aoun's term ended on Oct. 31.
"We will not accept a colorless and odorless president," Geagea said, using an Arabic metaphor to communicate someone's insignificance. "We are in the process of consulting with all parties to achieve the election of a sovereignist president. It is forbidden from now on for anyone to paralyze [constitutional] deadlines to serve their own interests."
In a Tuesday interview on Al Jadeed TV channel, Geagea attacked his two political opponents — Hezbollah and the Free Patriotic Movement — and disavowed any compromise with the FPM on a candidate.
"One of the sovereignist pillars is calling for the country to be divided if it fails to elect the president it wants," said Hezbollah deputy Sheikh Naim Qassem, on Wednesday in reaction to Geagea's remarks.
"Does sovereignty mean taking over the country, ignoring the Israeli occupation of our country and not respecting the will of the people regarding the presidential election? The Free Patriotic Movement does not call for division," Qassem wrote on Twitter.