BEIRUT – Lebanon’s parliament is to convene on April 23 to elect a new president to succeed Michel Sleiman, whose term ends on May 25, the National News Agency reported Wednesday.

“Parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri has called for a session on Wednesday April 23 to elect a new president of the republic,” the official news agency said.

Lebanon’s president, who must come from the country’s Maronite Christian community, is elected by a vote in the parliament.

Michel Moussa, a member of Berri’s parliamentary bloc, said he hoped there would be a quorum for the session.

“In period between now and the end of the president’s mandate we need to hold a session and there is near-total agreement that the best time in is the second half of April,” he said.

“I hope that the parliamentary blocs will keep their word and there will be a quorum,” he added.

Moussa is one of three MPs tasked by Berri with meeting the parliamentary blocs to secure agreement on a date for the presidential vote.

Berri is hoping to avoid a repeat of the situation in 2007, when MPs refused on multiple occasions to attend sessions he called for the presidential vote because of political differences.

Even with a date set for the session, there are no guarantees that a president will be chosen on April 23.

So far just one political figure, Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea, has announced his candidacy.

But he is not expected to run unopposed, and other candidates are likely to announce their own campaigns in coming days.

Source: Middle East Online.

Link: http://middle-east-online.com/english/?id=65441.