Aoun expresses relief after first round of presidential election
President Michel Aoun on Thursday followed up from his office on the details of the first presidential election round that was held in parliament, expressing “relief over the start of the electoral process in an atmosphere of democracy,” the Presidency said.
“Democracy has always characterized the Lebanese system over the years, although the sequence of events over the past years necessitates an evaluation of the general political performance in the country,” the Presidency added in a statement.
Aoun also hoped that more electoral sessions “will follow within the constitutional timeframe so that MPs can elect a new president who would continue the course of reform and fighting corruption that started six years ago, in addition to confronting the difficult economic and social situations that citizens are suffering from.”
Parliament on Thursday failed to elect a new president, with the majority of lawmakers casting blank ballots and some walking out.
The failure pointed out deep political divisions that threaten prolonged political paralysis and a leadership void at time where Lebanon is suffering an economic meltdown and has struggled to reach an agreement with the International Monetary Fund for a bailout.
Parliament's deep divisions between Iran-backed Hezbollah and allies, traditional political adversaries, and a dozen reformist legislators continues to intensify. In recent months, no majority or consensus candidate in Parliament has emerged.
The six-year term of Aoun ends on Oct. 31. He is a retired military general and an ally of Iran-backed Hezbollah and was elected in October 2016 following a similar political stalemate that lasted two years.