Lebanon fails to elect president for 11th time amid political deadlock

Lebanese lawmakers failed Thursday for the 11th time to elect a new president after the post was vacated on Oct. 31, 2022.

Anadolu reporter said the vote was attended by 111 lawmakers in the 128-member parliament.

Candidate Michel Moawad, backed by the Lebanese Forces party, received 34 votes, well short of the figure needed to win the first round, according to the official Lebanese news agency.

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.

The annulled votes were 29 and the other votes went to other candidates.

Due to lack of quorum in the second round for the session, Speaker Nabih Berri ended the session without setting a date for another voting session which was usually held on weekly basis over the past nine voting sessions.

Former President Michel Aoun completed in October last year a six-year term without lawmakers agreeing on a successor.

Parliamentary blocs, including the Lebanese Forces Party, accuse lawmakers affiliated with the Hezbollah group and its allies of hindering the election of a new president by casting blank ballots.

Hezbollah, for its part, rejects the accusation, saying it seeks a president who "will not stab the resistance in the back," in reference to Hezbollah itself.

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.

Source: Anadolu Agency