BEIRUT — The Lebanese Forces announced Monday that they accept Maronite Patriarch Bechara al-Rai’s invitation to a prayer day involving all Christian MPs on April 5, head of the LF Party, Samir Geagea, said after the Strong Republic bloc meeting today.
"We will fully participate in the Harissa retreat, hoping that God will respond to the prayers of [...] Rai,” Geagea said Monday, during a press conference.
The Maronite Patriarchate on Friday invited all 64 Lebanese Christian MPs to a "day of prayer" set to take place in Harissa, Jounieh on Wednesday, April 5, in the runup to the Easter holiday. His initiative comes at a time when Lebanon has been without a president since Michel Aoun's term in office ended on Oct. 31.
Rai also previously announced his intention to convene all Christian parties for a dialogue on the presidential elections. Rai recently drew up a list of 10 potential consensus candidates for the presidency, which L'Orient-Le Jour obtained.
In an interview in Al-Anba' newpaper published Sunday morning, Kataeb party MP Elias Hankash confirmed that his party would attend the retreat.
The Free Patriotic Movement has also confirmed its attendance.
In a tweet published on Saturday, MP Adib Abdelmassih also confirmed his presence at the meeting "as a representative of the Renewal parliamentary bloc, in its Christian and Muslim components." The Renewal bloc is made up of MPs Michel Moawad (Zgharta), one of the official presidential candidates; Ashraf Rifi (Tripoli); Adib Abdelmassih (Koura); and Fouad Makhzoumi (Beirut II).
A lack of political consensus has meant that MPs have still not managed to elect a successor to Aoun despite holding 11 electoral sessions in Parliament.
Bkirki advocates a third way out of the impasse reached as a result of the Sleiman Frangieh-Michel Moawad confrontation in the presidential election. Amal and Hezbollah have formalized their support for Frangieh, leader of the Marada Movement, while leaving the door open for dialogue around an alternative candidate. Moawad is supported by many of the opposition MPs, but has not managed to gather sufficient votes to ensure his victory.
The commander-in-chief of the army, Gen. Joseph Aoun, is also a potential candidate for the role of head of state, a position traditionally reserved for Maronites. FPM leader Bassil has so far stated that he is opposed to all three names: Frangieh, Moawad and Aoun.