BEIRUT — Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) leader Gebran Bassil said Wednesday that the Parliament's latest presidential election session proved no one can "bypass the Christian component."
Lebanon has been without a president since Oct. 31, 2022, when Michel Aoun left office. Parliament held its 12th presidential electoral session on Wednesday but was again unsuccessful.
"Today's session proved, as we said yesterday, that no one can bypass the Christian component in the presidential elections. There will be no forcing of a president from anyone and the [Free Patriotic] Movement is committed and is following its beliefs only," Bassil said in a Wednesday tweet.
"Every stubbornness will be met by stubbornness, so there is no solution but to agree on the project and a president without elimination or manipulation," Bassil added.
MPs with the Free Patriotic Movement said they voted for presidential candidate and former Finance Minister Jihad Azour.
During Wednesday's session, Azour — who is supported by the majority of opposition forces — received 59 votes, while Marada Movement leader Sleiman Frangieh — who is supported by Amal, Hezbollah and other MPs — received 51 votes.
Six MPs voted for former Interior Minister Ziad Baroud, eight MPs voted for "New Lebanon," and one vote each went to army commander Joseph Aoun and to contractor Jihad al-Arab.
One blank vote was also counted.
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri has not yet set a date for the next presidential election session.