Lebanon fails to elect president for fourth time in a row
So far, each session held has been plagued by either a lack of quorum or a failure to reach a consensus
By News Desk - October 24 2022

(Photo credit: Middle East Online)

Lebanon’s parliament failed to elect a president once again and for the fourth time on 24 October with fears of a presidential vacuum looming over the country, as the term of President Michel Aoun is set to expire on 31 October.

The three previous sessions, held on 20 October, 13 October, and 29 September, all failed over a lack of the necessary quorum and the failure to reach a consensus.

During the parliamentary session, 50 blank papers were put forth. Another 10 votes were cast in favor of the independent candidate Issam Khalifa, 39 in favor of Michel Moawad, and 13 bearing the slogan “New Lebanon.” Additionally, two papers were counted as null.

Moawad is the son of former Lebanese president Rene Moawad, who was assassinated in 1989. He is supported by the US and Saudi-backed Lebanese Forces (LF), despite its leader Samir Geagea having expressed support for the candidacy of Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) Commander Joseph Aoun. The LAF commander is also the preferred choice for Washington.

As people left the parliament building, resulting in the loss of the required quorum, Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri announced the rescheduling of the session for 27 October.

Berri suggested on 22 October that he is willing to launch an open parliamentary dialogue session in order to agree on a new president, and said that he “will not stand idly by” as the parliament continues to fail to elect a successor to Aoun.

According to senior parliamentary sources, the parliament speaker has been reviewing a number of ideas to “reshuffle the cards” and “result in a breakthrough that ends the stalemate,” despite the failure of the latest session.

According to a report by the Lebanese LBCI, Qatar and Egypt are also behind the nomination of LAF commander Aoun. The report adds that Saudi Arabia will only support Lebanon if its elected president is not a part of the Hezbollah-Syria alliance, a criterion that the LAF commander fits.

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