Lebanon fails to elect president for third time
The Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri has called for another session to avoid a political deadlock before the term of President Michel Aoun ends on 31 October
By News Desk - October 21 2022

(Photo credit: Middle East Online)

The Lebanese parliament failed to elect a new president for the third time on Thursday, 20 October.

Failure to reach an agreement among the rival political blocs is spinning the country into an institutional deadlock ahead of 31 October, the date that President Michel Aoun is scheduled to leave office.

On Thursday, 119 out of 128 parliamentarians convened at the country’s parliament to vote for a new president and caretaker cabinet, but the efforts failed when many either voted blank, or in protest.

According to electoral rules, the votes require a two-third quorum to prevent just one party from imposing its will. However, the session saw 55 blank votes, while the remaining ballots had protest slogans written on them.

Leading candidate Michel Moawad received only 42 out of the 65 needed votes during the second round of the election.

Moawad is the son of former Lebanese president Rene Moawad, who was assassinated in 1989. He is supported by the Lebanese Forces (LF) who have the staunch political backing of the US and Saudi Arabia, and has often been vocal in his criticisms of Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah and Iran’s influence in Lebanon.

“It is unacceptable that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard or anyone else turns Lebanon into a barricade for Iran’s defense{…} This demands an immediate official Lebanese stance so that our devastated country does not turn into a rocket-launching platform in a war we have nothing to do with,” he responded on Twitter to a statement published by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) describing Lebanon to be at the frontlines with its battle against Israel.

The Lebanese parliament has failed to reach a consensus since the outgoing cabinet’s mandate expired in May 2022, adding fuel to uncertainty during one of the worst financial crises of the country’s recent history.

Countries like the United States and France, as well as powerful institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have urged Lebanon to find a swift solution as the Lebanese pound has lost more than 95 percent of its value against the dollar since 2019.

“Lebanon today cannot risk a power vacuum,” France’s Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said during her visit to Beirut last week.



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