BEIRUT — Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri on Wednesday called for the election of Lebanon's next president "no later than June 15," according to a statement from his press office.
In the statement, Berri said the regional and international climate "is encouraging" for the presidential election. Lebanon has been without a head of state since Oct. 31, 2022.
"We must begin by electing a president, no later than June 15, because no one can predict what might happen if the presidential vacuum persists," said Berri while hosting a delegation of Christian political figures in Ain al-Tineh.
Parliament has staged 11 presidential electoral sessions since the beginning of the election period, to no avail given the lack of political consensus.
Contacted by L'Orient-Le Jour, an official close to Berri explained that the June 15 deadline is meant to ensure that a new president is installed before the expiration of Banque du Liban Governor Riad Salameh's term in July and Lebanese Army Commander-in-Chief Joseph Aoun's term next January.
"Nabih Berri insists that the president should have a say in the appointment of the new governor of the BDL and the next commander-in-chief of the army," the official explained.
In his Wednesday statement, Berri expressed his hope "that the danger of a vacancy in the leadership of the central bank will push towards the election of a president as soon as possible.”
Berri called for the establishment of a secular state and a proportional electoral law based on extended constituencies. He also demanded the establishment of a senate, expanded decentralization and the imposition of a quota for the election of women to parliament.