By Hamza Tekin
BEIRUT (AA) - Lebanon’s parliament on Thursday failed -- for the 40th time -- to elect a new president for the country amid a boycott by Hezbollah lawmakers and other political blocs.
Forty MPs attended Thursday’s assembly session, falling short of the 86 necessary to meet the mandatory quorum for holding the vote.
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri postponed the assembly vote to July 23, when MPs will try once again to elect a new head of state.
Former President Michel Suleiman’s term ended in May of 2014. Since then, Lebanon’s 128-seat parliament has been unable to muster enough MPs to elect a new president.
Lebanon’s political forces remain sharply divided between supporters of the "March 14 Alliance", which backs the armed opposition in next-door Syria, and the "March 8 Alliance", which includes Hezbollah and supports Syria’s Assad regime.
A third, centrist bloc, meanwhile, is led by Druze politician Walid Jumblatt and former Prime Minister Najib Mikati.