Lebanon’s divided parliament failed Thursday to elect a new president for the fifth time, with the post vacant since the mandate of Michel Aoun expired last month.
Michel Moawad, whose father Rene Moawad served as president, was the frontrunner in the 128-seat parliament with 44 votes on Thursday, still far short of the two-thirds majority – or 86 ballots – needed to win.
Parliament is split between supporters of the Lebanese Hezbollah and its opponents, neither having a clear majority.
Hezbollah rejects the candidacy of Moawad, who is seen as close to the United States, and calls for a “compromise candidate” to be found.
In the meantime, most lawmakers from its bloc spoilt their ballots.
“Neither camp can impose a candidate, A compromise must be found and an understanding reached on a candidate acceptable to everyone,” deputy speaker Elias Bou Saab told AFP in an interview on Tuesday.
Aoun’s own election in 2016 followed a more than two-year vacancy at the presidential palace as lawmakers made 45 failed attempts to reach consensus on a candidate.
But this year’s vacancy comes as Lebanon is gripped by an unprecedented financial crisis that has pushed much of the population into poverty since 2019.
During a vacancy, the powers of the president fall to the cabinet.
But since May Lebanon has had only a caretaker government that lacks the authority to push through the sweeping reforms demanded by the International Monetary Fund as a condition for releasing billions of dollars in emergency loans.
Lebanon could finalize IMF deal despite political vacuum: Caretaker PMLebanon could still finalize a deal with the International Monetary Fund for a $3 billion bailout despite having no president and no fully empowered ... Middle East
US to give Lebanon $80.5 million in aid amid economic crisisPower also announced $8.5 million to fund 22 new solar-powered pumping stations. Middle East
US committed to supporting ‘sturdy, dependable partners’ in Lebanon’s army: Diplomat“We regard the Lebanese Armed Forces [LAF] and the Internal Security Forces [ISF] as pillars of more than just immediate law and order,” Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf said. Middle East
Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun leaves officeLebanon’s outgoing president Michel Aoun left the presidential palace in Baabda on Sunday on foot, walking out to address hundreds of supporters as ... Middle East