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Asharq Al-Awsat
Asharq Al-Awsat
Beirut - Caroline Akoum

Rahi Says Lebanon President Must Be Chosen in Ballot Boxes

Lebanon’s Maronite Patriarch Beshara Al-Rahi received on Monday LF deputy Melhem Riachi (NNA)

Lebanon’s Maronite Patriarch Beshara Al-Rahi said Monday during a meeting with Lebanese Forces MP Melhem Riachi that there is no need for dialogue in preparation for the presidential elections, affirming that the voting of a new head of state must take place in the Parliament 's ballot boxes.

Riachi met with the Patriarch in Bkirki upon the request of LF party leader, Samir Geagea.

The closed-door meeting came one day after Rahi described the sessions held by Parliament to elect a president as a “farce.”

He said that the political forces are tossing around the presidential elections and refraining from electing a president who rejects dictates and preserves Lebanon's affairs.

Riachi, in his remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat said that the Patriarch stressed the need to keep the Parliament sessions open until a new head of state is elected to fill the almost three-month vacuum.

The Patriarch rejects any prior agreement on the name of a candidate for the post before a voting session at Parliament.

“Results should not be known in advance,” Riachi quoted the Patriarch as saying.

Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and his ally, Hezbollah, insist that a president cannot be elected without a compromise.

Riachi told Asharq Al-Awsat that there was no specific reason or occasion for visiting Rahi, and that it comes as an emphasis on the firm relationship between Bkirki and the LF.

The deputy confirmed the LF’s mutual vision with the Maronite patriarch regarding the presidential election, stressing that relations between the two sides are “rather excellent.”

On Monday, Hezbollah MP Hussein Hajj Hassan said that whoever “refuses dialogue should bear the responsibility of not electing a president.”

He added that the internal crisis should be faced through dialogue, discussion and consensus among the Lebanese.

Also, the Amal Movement of Speaker Nabih Berri reaffirmed the importance of dialogue.

In a statement issued by its political bureau on Monday, the Movement stressed that electing a president must be held under the umbrella of dialogue and consensus.

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