Saturday, June 22, 2024

Lebanon’s MPs fail to elect president for 12th time

Lebanese lawmakers failed on Wednesday for the 12th time to elect a new president.

Lawmakers cast ballot to elect between Hezbollah-backed candidate Suleiman Frangieh and his competitors Jihad Azour and Ziad Baroud.

None of the candidates, however, were able to secure enough votes to win the first round of voting, with Frangieh obtaining 51 votes, Azour 59 votes and Baroud 7 votes, according to results announced by Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.

Azour, a former finance minister, is backed by Lebanese opposition parties.

A candidate needs two-thirds of the vote, or 86 lawmakers, to make it through the first stage. An absolute majority is needed in subsequent rounds.

A second round of voting failed to take place due to lack of a quorum after lawmakers of Hezbollah and its ally Amal Movement withdrew from the session.

The post has been vacant since Oct. 31 when President Michel Aoun left office after the end of his 6-year term.

Since 2019, Lebanon has been facing a crippling economic crisis that, according to the World Bank, is one of the worst the world has seen in modern times.

The country has been without a fully functioning government since May, with Prime Minister Najib Mikati and his Cabinet having limited powers in their current caretaker status.

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