US berates Lebanon’s lawmakers for failing to elect new president

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The US on Wednesday called on Lebanon’s leaders and “elites” to stop putting their own interests and ambitions above the people of their country after the Lebanese parliament failed to elect a new president for the 12th time since last year.

After a first session, which saw IMF official Jihad Azour garner 59 votes as opposed to the 51 for the Hezbollah-backed Sleiman Frangieh, the Iran-backed group and its allies withdrew to prevent a quorum for a second session.

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“Ultimately, the political paralysis in Lebanon is an issue that Lebanese leaders must resolve… We believe that Lebanon’s leaders and their elites must stop putting their own interests and ambitions above the people of their country,” State Department Spokesman Matt Miller told reporters.

A White House National Security Council official welcomed the resumption of presidential electoral sessions.

“In subsequent rounds, we urge the leaders to talk, reach consensus, and open sessions until an empowered president is selected to implement reforms that benefit all Lebanese people,” Acting NSC Spokesman Adam Hodge said in a tweet.

Read more: Crisis in Lebanon intensifies as presidential vote crumbles

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