Despite the active political movement, shuttle diplomacy, and meetings conducted by Saudi Arabian ambassador Walid Bukhari in particular towards filling the presidential vacuum and ending the state of vacancy, the atmosphere remains unclear and there are no indications yet of the imminent appointment of a new president, whether from influential decision-making positions internally or externally. However, it is noteworthy that several political parties have confirmed that mid-June will be a decisive date for clearing the vision and thus showing the white thread from the black in the presidential file. This was clearly affirmed by the Speaker of the Parliament, Nabih Berri.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Bukhari continues his meetings to reach common ground and understandings between Lebanese officials to accomplish the presidential entitlement, confident in the Lebanese parties’ will, and ability to emerge from the state of vacancy.
Sources from the “National Accord” bloc, which met with Bukhari in successive meetings, emphasize, through “Sawt Beirut International,” the necessity for all political parties to be convinced of participating in the election session when called upon by the Speaker of Parliament, and securing the quorum, especially if the election session is to be open, in the event of more than one candidate, so that options can be determined.
Sources reported that the Saudi ambassador confirmed that the doors of the Kingdom are open to all Lebanese, and it was noted that consultations between Sunni MPs on one hand and the Saudi ambassador on the other hand are natural, as they are keen to bring Saudi Arabia back to embrace Lebanon, and to play its essential role in the country’s revival and exit from its financial and economic crises.
The sources also pointed out that the meetings held by the Saudi ambassador are aimed at urging the election of a president, denying that the Saudi ambassador has any specific directives regarding a certain candidate, considering that the process of electing a president is an internal democratic game that takes place in the parliament. The sources renewed the confirmation of the Saudi ambassador that there is no veto by the Kingdom on the name of any candidate, and each team must determine its responsibility. The sources also reported that the Kingdom is working on building a sustainable strategy that the next president will adopt in the coming stage, and judgments will be based on the results and not on individuals.
Sources indicate that the specifications of the next president should revolve around securing the basic constants that Lebanon needs, whether with its Arab or international surroundings, or with regards to the implementation of the Taif Agreement in all its articles and sub-items. In addition, the issue of the defense strategy and the reform path, which is the foundation, must be addressed, and the correct and quick decision must be taken regarding it.
Sources from the “National Moderation” bloc pointed out that although the Kingdom is considered a reference for Sunni MPs, it does not influence their national choices and positions regarding the selection of the president. They also considered that all Lebanese, without exception, should appreciate the role of the Kingdom through the aid and support it has provided and continues to provide to Lebanon and its people.
The sources also highlighted the importance of the role played by Qatar alongside Saudi Arabia in helping Lebanon overcome its crisis and elect a president.
The sources confirmed the information about the preparation for a soon meeting of Sunni MPs under the sponsorship of the Grand Mufti of the Republic, Sheikh Abdul Latif Derian, to discuss the developments of the presidential file and the Sunni decision in it.
In a related context to the presidential deadline, sources from the “Lebanese Forces” told “Sawt Beirut International” that Saudi Arabia stands at a neutral distance from the presidential deadline file, and has left this issue to the political forces. They revealed that consultations between opposition blocs and MPs have made significant progress, and they are trying to search for a candidate’s name to run against the “Shiite Duo”. They pointed out that the search is currently focused on one acceptable personality from the opposition in all its spectra, refusing to reveal the identity of their candidate so as not to mess things up, hoping that the opposition will be able to deliver its candidate to Baabda Palace.