In Lebanon, parliamentarians once again fail to elect a president

Lebanon is heading towards a political vacuum due to the lack of a candidate capable of winning the majority of votes in parliament to elect the president’s successor, Michel Aoun, whose term expires in a week. In their fourth attempt, on Monday 24 October, Lebanese MPs failed to reach a majority, as the parliament was clearly divided into two camps, that of Hezbollah, which is pro-Iranian, and that of its opponents.

MP Michel Moawad, who is trying to rally the votes of the camp against Hezbollah, won 39 votes on Monday, a far cry from the 86 needed to be elected in the first round. The son of former president René Moawad, assassinated in 1989, got three votes less than in the last session last Thursday. In addition, 50 MPs voted blank, including MPs from the pro-Hezbollah camp.

A respected activist and university professor, Issam Khalifé, won 10 votes, including those of deputies from the protest movement launched in October 2019 to demand the abandonment of a political class that has been in existence for decades, accused of corruption and corruption. As many times in the past in Lebanon, the process of electing a new president could take months; the country is undermined by political differences which also prevent the formation of a government.

“No block in Parliament can impose a president”

Michel Aoun’s election took place in 2016, after a twenty-nine month vacancy at the top of the state and dozens of votes in parliament to try to reach a consensus on a candidate. In the denominational system of distribution of power in force, the presidency of the Republic is reserved for a Maronite Christian, but the prerogatives of Head of State have been considerably reduced since the end of the civil war (1975-1990).

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“No blockade in parliament can impose a president, neither Hezbollah nor anyone else”, said Elias Hankache, a deputy from the Christian party Kataëb which supports Moawad. He complained to “systematic block” from the Hezbollah Shiite camp, which expressed its hostility to Mr. Moawad’s candidacy.

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Lebanon has experienced one of the worst economic crises in the world since 1850 according to the World Bank, characterized by a steep rise in prices, a historic collapse of the national currency, an unprecedented impoverishment of the population and serious shortages.

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The world with AFP

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