Lebanon: Presidential Vacuum Ahead

Lebanon’s parliament looks set to fail to elect a successor to President Michel Suleiman, whose six-year term expires on 25 May, leaving the fragile country with a new political vacuum with which to wrangle.

Samir Geagea, leader of the mostly-Maronite Catholic Lebanese Forces, enjoyed the support of the ‘March 14’ political bloc during his failed candidacy for president. But that support was not enough to overcome staunch opposition from the ‘March 8’ bloc: indeed, he never had a real shot at drawing a majority of parliamentary votes.

Yet neither did his opponent, Michel Aoun – leader of the ‘March 8’ bloc’s Change and Reform movement. Mr Aoun has yet to declare his candidacy, but is, ostensibly, the ‘March 8’ candidate. The process of finding the elusive consensus candidate is likely to drag on well beyond the 25 May deadline. (CONTINUED - 328 WORDS)