Lebanon should elect a new president as quickly as possible, French Minister says

Lebanese officials must quickly choose a new president, or else the poverty-stricken country will fall into a deeper political strife, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said Friday.

After Parliament twice failed to elect a successor to Michel Aoun in Beirut, Colonna spoke about the situation. Aoun was elected to the presidency in Lebanon in 2016 after taking two years to reach an agreement and vote. The Lebanese government has been operating on a limited caretaker basis for months as political parties struggle to come to an agreement on a new leadership lineup.

Choosing a president and forming a new administration amid one of the world’s deepest economic downturns is critical, Colonna said. Aoun’s six-year term expires on October 31.

Colonna said that Lebanon cannot afford to have a leadership vacuum because it would be dangerous. After meeting with Lebanese officials including Aoun and Najib Mikati, the caretaker Prime Minister, Colonna spoke to reporters at Rafik Hariri International Airport.

It would be dangerous and alarming to force the Lebanese people to bear a political crisis,” she said.

Despite the fact that the economy of the tiny Mediterranean nation has spiraled over the past three years, resulting in three-quarters of its population being impoverished, corruption and financial mismanagement have resulted in decades of financial mismanagement and corruption. The country has not been able to put into effect a series of reforms that would increase openness and reform its bankrupt banks due to the fact that Lebanon has reached an agreement with the International Monetary Fund.

Image Credit: AP Photo/Hussein Malla