Despite a financial meltdown, Lebanon fails to elect president for 3rd time

A financial crisis is bringing Lebanon closer to institutional deadlock after Parliament failed for the third time to elect a president, Reuters reported.

The end of Michel Aoun’s term as president is on October 31st and there is a lack of consensus among political factions regarding a new government.

The presidency has been vacant several times since the 1975-90 Civil War ended in Lebanon. In May, Lebanon lost its fully functioning government.

The financial meltdown in Lebanon has sunk the currency by more than 90 per cent, spread poverty, paralyzed the financial system, and frozen depositors out of their savings, creating the most destabilizing crisis since Lebanon’s civil war.

On Thursday, 119 out of 128 legislators were present for half an hour. To ensure that no one party or coalition can impose its choice, a two-thirds quorum is required.

An absolute majority is sufficient to win in the first round, provided that two-thirds of the votes are not won.

Of the 55 blank votes cast Thursday, 42 were for anti-Hezbollah lawmaker Michel Mouawad, and the rest were split between various political messages. One voter wanted a ‘benevolent dictator.’

Nabih Berri, Chair of the Amiled Shia. The Hezbollah-led alliance swept all nine parliamentary seats in May elections. The alliance with Shia allies has also given Hezbollah a boost in Lebanon’s sectarian-divided politics.

Politicians are working hard to establish a new cabinet led by Sunni Muslim Prime Minister Najib Mikati, who is serving in an interim capacity, so as to give presidential powers.

The President and the caretaker cabinet could be left without a president if the country’s opposition parties succeed in their bid to impeach the president.