Lebanese parliament to vote for president

Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri will convene a session to elect a new president on September 29, despite the lack of political consensus on a candidate and the slim chance of a successful vote.

President Michel Aoun’s six-year term ends on October 31 and politicians have expressed concern over the lack of a successor – warning of an even greater institutional stalemate given that Lebanon is also without a fully functioning government since May.

The session will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, the state news agency reported.

The votes of two-thirds of lawmakers in the 128-member legislature are needed for a candidate to be elected on the first ballot, after which a simple majority suffices.

Aoun came to power after a 29-month presidential vacuum during which parliament could not agree on the election of a president.

The standoff ended with a series of deals that secured victory for Aoun and his powerful Iran-backed ally, Hezbollah, which still wields a lot of power within the sectarian divide in Lebanon.

Aoun is limited to one term and major political parties have announced no agreement on his successor, although many blame the militant group and Iran for the country’s troubles.

Lebanon has been plagued by economic turmoil since 2019, when its banking system and government collapsed and citizens lost their foreign currency deposits. The national currency has lost most of its value and many middle class people are struggling to earn a living.

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