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The quintet ambassadors—comprising the United States, France, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt—are exploring a consultation mechanism. They aim to ascertain if a consensus can be reached on a presidential candidate, or if a presidential election can be organized with a limited list of contenders. However, as of yet, these ambassadors have not reached a consensus on a consultation mechanism, possibly due to the complexity of the issue requiring further deliberation. Additionally, it’s conceivable that political parties are steadfast in their stances regarding dialogue and consultation.

During his visit to Meerab on Saturday, and his meeting with the leader of the Lebanese Forces, Samir Geagea, French Ambassador Hervé Magro took note of Geagea’s repeated refusal, as well as that of the opposition, to participate in a dialogue convened and chaired by the Speaker of the House, Nabih Berri. Geagea considers that there are other alternatives for this dialogue, such as bilateral and multilateral consultations between parliamentary blocs or even the adoption of the same mode of communication among the parliamentary blocs. This enabled reaching an agreement on the recommendation addressed to the government regarding the one billion euro subsidy from the European Union to address the repercussions of the Syrian migrant crisis in Lebanon.

During his meeting with Magro, Geagea is said to have emphasized the importance of coupling any agreement on a consultation mechanism with a clear commitment that, in the event of a failure to reach a consensus on the presidential election, Nabih Berri would convene an electoral parliamentary session and maintain successive rounds until a president is elected. Berri would commit not to allow any party to prevent the quorum from being met.

However, Berri’s position appears unchanged. According to available information, he remains firmly committed to the idea of convening and chairing a dialogue himself. Furthermore, he has never engaged, on behalf of his party Amal, and his ally Hezbollah, to ensuring the quorum.

At this stage, maintaining these positions could be considered as a strategy for the tandem. Both do not wish to separate the presidential election from the two issues of Gaza and South Lebanon, once a ceasefire has been established. The presidency could thus be used in a bargain by Amal and Hezbollah. They are eager to take advantage of any opportunity that would enable them to claim what they call a victory, and thus invest in a political price that they believe the Lebanese are obliged to pay.

Until now, the quintet ambassadors have been reluctant to declare their engagement in the consultation process. They opt to defer this matter to the Lebanese, who will bear the outcomes, whether positive or negative. It’s possible that these ambassadors might propose that the National Moderation Bloc resume its role as a mediator among political actors for consultation. While the National Moderation Bloc doesn’t seem fundamentally opposed, it fears it may fail again, which could undermine both its initiative and that of the quintet.