Lebanese Parliament fails in its eighth attempt to elect a new Lebanese president

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Archive – The Speaker of the Lebanese Parliament, Nabih Berri – Marwan Naamani/dpa

Lebanon’s Parliament has failed for the eighth time in its attempt to elect a new president of the country after none of the candidates achieved the necessary votes due to lack of quorum to succeed Michel Aoun, whose term expired on October 31.

The president of the Parliament, Nabih Berri, has scheduled a new session for next Thursday to try to unravel the political crisis in Lebanon, which has now reached eight consecutive failures, since the House does not have a clear majority bloc, according to the NNA news agency.

In this new vote, MP Michel Muauad obtained 37 votes in favor, while two ballots went to former minister Ziad Barud and four to historian Isam Khalifa. Likewise, 52 members of parliament cast blank ballots.

In the first round, the president must be elected with 86 votes, while in the subsequent rounds an absolute majority of 65 votes is required. However, so far, the House has not yet reached a second round of voting, as reported by the newspaper ‘L’Orient Le Jour’.

The elections, considered key for the future of the country, consecrated two big winners: the Lebanese Forces, which became the first Christian party in the Assembly with 19 deputies, and the anti-crisis protest movements. On the other hand, the Shiite militia party Hezbollah and its allies, including Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement, lost their majority in Parliament.

Aoun was elected president in 2016 after nearly half a hundred parliamentary sessions that dragged on for two and a half years. After his departure, he left a power vacuum that is dragging on indefinitely in the face of the inability of political forces to agree on a successor.

Lebanon has been trapped for several years in a deep and prolonged political, economic and social crisis that has resulted in more than 70 percent of the population living below the poverty line and a banking system paralyzed since October 2019.