LebanonMiddle East

Lebanon Vacuum Prevails as Hezbollah Breaks Silence on FPM

Lebanese parliament has failed for the ninth time on Thursday to elect a new president, as Hezbollah hit back at the Free Patriotic Movement over accusations related to attending governmental sessions.

Blank votes again received the highest count, with 39 in the first voting cycle, while independent MP Michel Moawad received 39, in addition to 15 cancelled votes and several other names.

Speaker Nabih Berri adjourned the session after lack of quorum of the second voting cycle, Al-Manar correspondent at the Lebanese Parliament reported, adding that the speaker set next Thursday (December 15) a date for the tenth session aimed at electing new president.

During the session, Berri said he was working to hold dialogue between Lebanese factions, wondering whether it is possible to agree on any issue in the country without dialogue, according to our correspondent.

The parliament’s failure to elect a president has been complicating the situation in a country mired in a constitutional deadlock and stifling economic crisis.

Hezbollah Hits back at FPM

Hezbollah flag

Earlier on Thursday, Hezbollah broke silence regarding accusations made by FPM President Gebran Bassil and his supporters against the Lebanese resistance party.

In a statement, Hezbollah hit back at FPM, its powerful Christian ally, who accused the resistance party of ‘breaking promise’ not to attend government sessions after the end of President Michel Aoun’s term last October.

Hezbollah stressed keenness to handle disputed issues with friends and allies without getting into arguments, but noted that several issues must be clarified in face of accusations by Bassil and FPM circles.

In the statement, Hezbollah affirmed that it has never promised to boycott governmental sessions after end of President Aoun’s term, noting that the latest meeting at the Grand Serail was aimed at meeting the urgent needs of people in light of the harsh economic crisis in the country.

The Lebanese resistance party stressed, meanwhile, that attending the session has nothing to do with what it called ‘illusive interpretations’ over Hezbollah’s stance regarding the new president and the Christians’ role in the country. In this context, Hezbollah called on FPM circles to avoid “language of betrayal”.

Bassil and Hezbollah

Gebran Bassil

In a press conference on Tuesday, FPM’s Bassil expressed anger over holding cabinet session to approve the process of securing medicines for dialysis and cancer patients on Monday.

The FPM refuses to hold any Cabinet session in light of the presidential vacuum in order to prevent caretaker PM Najib Mikati from exercising the powers of the Christian president.

In his press conference, Bassil said that Monday’s session, attended by Hezbollah ministers, was “unconstitutional, illegal and unconventional,” describing it as “an execution of the constitution and a fatal blow to (the) Taif Agreement.”

Bassil indirectly addressed Hezbollah, saying: “If someone thinks that they are pressuring us on the presidential issue, we would like to tell them that it will not work.

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