BEIRUT — The Vice-Speaker of the Lebanese Parliament, Elias Bou Saab, visited the headquarters of the Lebanese Forces (LF) in Meerab on Tuesday to discuss with LF leader Samir Geagea the possibility of holding dialogue with all involved stakeholders on the issue of the presidential vacancy, which has been ongoing since October 2022. At the end of the meeting, Bou Saab said Geagea is "not convinced by the idea of a traditional dialogue table."
''My third visit to Meerab focused on the vacuum in the country and the possibility of reaching a solution to end it,'' said Bou Saab. "Discussions with Samir Geagea focused directly on the possibility of dialogue between the different parties. The LF leader is not convinced by a traditional dialogue table, as has happened in the past. He considers that it is necessary to quickly find a solution that will put an end to the presidential vacancy (...) Samir Geagea has not changed his position, but he is open to any discussion or contact with all parties, without exception," Bou Saab added.
On June 14, the 12th electoral parliamentary session proved unsuccessful, with Jihad Azour obtaining 59 votes and Sleiman Frangieh 51. The head of the Legislative Council, Nabih Berri, has not set a date for the next meeting.
While Hezbollah has called for dialogue to end the presidential deadlock, it has refused give up its preferred candidate, Frangieh. Opponents of Hezbollah have largely refused dialogue with the party.
In an attempt to end the presidential vacancy, the French special envoy to Lebanon, Jean-Yves Le Drian, toured Beirut at the end of June and held talks with several political leaders and officials, calling for a president to be elected without further delay. He is due to visit Lebanon again next week.
In Doha on Monday, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, France, the United States and Qatar urged the Lebanese parliament to elect a president, and called on political leaders to "take immediate steps to break the deadlock."