Aoun Proposes a Two-Round Direct President Election

Aoun Proposes a Two-Round Direct President Election

(Translation of this article appears in Arabic section

Free Patriotic Movement chief Michel Aoun called on Monday for a constitutional amendment that would allow the people to elect their head of state in an attempt to resolve the presidential deadlock.

He said there should be a “limited constitutional amendment,” allowing Lebanese citizens to elect the head of state in two rounds to avoid the same scenarios that parliamentary sessions are witnessing.

Aoun's stance came during a press conference he held at his residence in Rabieh to launch an initiative aimed at salvaging the country.

Parliament has failed in several rounds to elect a successor to President Michel Suleiman, whose six-year term expired on May 25 after the March 8 and 14 alliances failed to agree on a compromise candidate.

The majority of the March 8 camp's MPs, including the lawmakers of Aoun's Change and Reform bloc, have boycotted the sessions, leading to a lack of the needed two-thirds quorum.

Aoun said that his proposal lies in allowing only Christians to vote for their candidates in the first round.

The system then allows the polls to be held at the level of the entire nation to pave way for both Muslims and Christians to choose the two candidates who received the majority of votes in the first round.

The FPM chief has refused to announce his candidacy, claiming there should be consensus on him first. But the March 14 alliance, has backed the candidacy of his rival Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea.

Both Maronite leaders claim that they represent the majority of the country's Christians.

Under the National Pact of 1943, the president should be a Maronite, the speaker a Shiite and the premier a Sunni.

Aoun said he backed the immediate election of a president. “But it wouldn't be a disaster if we stalled in choosing a head of state.”

He made an other initiative allowing each sect to elect its own MPs to "create justice" for all confessions.

He denied that such a law would lead to more confessionalism.

“Where is the real power-sharing in parliament? Where is the electoral law that achieves the true power-sharing and real representation?” he asked.

“Has the division of power mentioned in Taef Accord become mere ink on paper?”

“Everyone knows that there are gaps in the implementation of the Taef Accord,” the Change and Reform bloc chief said.

“Consecutive electoral laws have given Christians the right to elect only 17 of their MPs,” he added.


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