Lebanon on Wednesday postponed yet again a parliamentary session to elect a new president amid an ongoing political stalemate.
Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri postponed the session to May 15 as the country's fiercely divided 128-member legislature, tasked with choosing a head of state, has been unable to agree on a consensus candidate to replace President Michel Sleiman, whose five-year term ends on May 25, Al-Akhbar reported.
It is unlikely that anyone could garner the 65 votes needed to be elected without political forces agreeing on a candidate ahead of the election.
The vote was originally scheduled for last Wednesday but parliament speaker Nabih Berri pushed it back one week after legislatures failed to reach a two-thirds quorum due to a boycott by the March 8 political bloc, which has yet to endorse a candidate.
The rival March 14 coalition accuses its opponents of trying to sabotage the election, a charge March 8 bitterly rejects.
Gemayel, Aoun working to find a candidate
Meanwhile leader of the March 8 Free Patriotic Movement Michel Aoun and head of the March 14 Phalanges Party Amin Gemayel announced they were working together to find a consensus candidate.
"We only have 20 days to elect a president and [former army] General [Michel] Aoun and myself agreed on increasing our efforts and make sure that a powerful president gets elected," Gemayel said at a joint press conference Wednesday with Aoun following a meeting between the two.
"The meeting was very positive and we found common ground. We are hopeful," Gemayel added, with Aoun echoing the statement.
Aoun and Gemayel are both potential candidates for the presidency, but neither has formally declared their intention to run.
Blank ballots submitted by March 8 Parliamentarians in the first round of elections two weeks ago took the lead with 52 votes and Samir Geagea garnered 48 votes.
MP Henri Helou, endorsed by the currently non-aligned Walid Jumblatt, had received 16 votes.
Berri met with Jumblatt ahead of Wednesday's session.
Jumblatt, head of the so-called Progressive Socialist Party, routinely switches loyalties between the two main political camps, often tipping the balance in favor of one or the other.
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