Officials in Zahle meet to put pressure on Skaff's bloc

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Officials in Zahle meet to put pressure on Skaff's bloc

Post by Admin on Thu Apr 24, 2008 2:12 pm

Participants reject presidential vacuum, 'indolence' of mps

"We
reject and denounce the indolence of our parliamentary representatives
in Zahle and their failure to perform their national duty by leaving
the country without a president," Firzul municipal council chief
Ibrahim Nasrallah said during a Saturday meeting of Zahle and Central
Bekaa municipal bosses, mayors and councilmen in the Grand Kadri Hotel
in Zahle.


The
"Rejection of Vacuum and Return to Legislative and Executive
Institutional Normalcy" meeting was called for by the Zahle qada
(district) union of municipalities, the Central Bekaa union of
municipalities and various mayors from the area in order to exert
pressure on the Popular Bloc that represents the Zahle district in
Parliament.


Led
by former Agricultural Minister Elias Skaff, the seven-member Popular
Bloc forms a crucial part of the opposition-aligned Change and Reform
bloc led by the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM).


Although
the Zahle city municipal government, controlled by Skaff ally Assaad
Zogheib was formally absent from the event, the meeting was attended by
many local politicians hoping to alter the stance of area MPs regarding
the presidency.


The
FPM, constituting the largest Christian faction in Parliament, is
perceived by an increasing number of people, including former coalition
member and Metn chieftain MP Michel Murr, to be the main culprit in the
stalled presidential elections.

The
rift over the presidential elections between Murr and FPM chief MP
Michel Aoun comes as wave of popular discontent regarding the perceived
FPM hold-up is spreading across Jbeil, Kesrouan and the Metn area
dominated by Murr.


Motivated
by the presidential vacuum, municipal gatherings similar to that held
in Zahle over the weekend have taken place in all these areas, which
Aoun handily won during the 2005 parliamentary elections, and may be
threatening the bloc's cohesiveness regarding the issue.


Political
rhetoric between rival Christian factions continues to intensify, with
FPM representatives insisting that the party remains strong, and with
pro-government factions arguing that municipal discontent is an
expression of both popular and official unrest.


Amid
discussions regarding Speaker Nabih Berri's call for a "national
dialogue" centered on the next electoral framework, speculation
concerning a possible convergence between Murr and Phalange leader and
former President Amin Gemayel is growing, making the presidential
vacuum and its effect on Christian public opinion important to the
broader stalemate in Lebanon.



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