Lebanon’s outgoing president Michel Aoun left the presidential palace in Baabda on Sunday on foot, walking out to address hundreds of supporters as the national anthem played.
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He is leaving a day ahead of the official end of his six-year term but without a successor, leaving the fragile country in an unprecedented situation where the presidency is vacant at the same time as the cabinet operates in a caretaker capacity.
Aoun, the 89-year-old Christian president presided over Lebanon’s cataclysmic financial meltdown and the deadly Beirut port blast.
The Lebanese Parliament has so far been unable to agree on a successor in the role, which has the power to sign bills into law, appoint new prime ministers and green-light government formations before they are voted on by parliament.
Aoun is a deeply divisive figure, adored by many Christians who viewed him as their defender in Lebanon’s sectarian system but accused by critics of enabling corruption and helping Iranian-backed Hezbollah gain influence.
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