Lebanon’s parliament failed on Monday to elect a president for the fourth time, with just a week left until outgoing President Michel Aoun’s term ends and warnings of a constitutional crisis growing louder.
With parliament more fractured than ever after May’s elections, political blocs have been unable to reach consensus on a candidate to succeed Aoun.
The presidency has fallen vacant several times since the 1975-1990 civil war but a vacuum now would be especially worrisome. The government is already operating in a caretaker capacity and the country is sinking deeper into a three-year-old financial meltdown.
Economic and political turmoil has sunk the currency by more than 90 percent, spread poverty, paralyzed the financial system and frozen depositors out of their savings in the most destabilizing crisis since the country’s civil war.
Votes in parliament on Monday were split mostly between independent MP Michel Mouawad, scholar Issam Khalife, who was newly nominated, blank ballots and some votes for political slogans.
Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri set the next session for Thursday, October 27.
Anticipating another vacuum at the top, politicians have stepped up efforts to agree on a new cabinet led by Sunni Muslim Prime Minister Najib Mikati - who is currently serving in a caretaker capacity - to which presidential powers could pass.
Syrian refugees cling on in Lebanon, Turkey as repatriation fears growThe first Syrian refugees in Lebanon to return home under a new repatriation ... Middle East
Israel court clears way for signing of Lebanon maritime border dealIsrael’s Supreme Court on Sunday paved the way for the signing of a maritime ... Middle East
Lebanon’s central bank won’t buy dollars on Sayrafa platform from Oct. 25Lebanon’s central bank will halt purchases of dollars on its Sayrafa platform ... Middle East