President Michel Aoun on Thursday gave details of the first round of the presidential election held in parliament from his office, expressing “his relief at 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 in recent years requires an assessment of the country’s general political performance,” the presidency added in a statement.
Aoun also hoped that other electoral sessions “will follow within the constitutional deadline so that the deputies can elect a new president who would continue the course of reform and the fight against corruption started six years ago, in addition to facing the difficult economic and social situations that citizens suffer. »
Parliament failed to elect a new president on Thursday, with the majority of lawmakers voting blank and some stepping down.
The failure underscored deep political divisions that threaten a prolonged political paralysis and leadership vacuum at a time when Lebanon is suffering from an economic collapse and struggling to reach an agreement with the International Monetary Fund for a plan of rescue.
Deep divisions in parliament between Iran-backed Hezbollah and its allies, traditional political opponents and a dozen reformist lawmakers continue to escalate. In recent months, no majority or consensus candidate in parliament has emerged.
Aoun’s six-year term ends on October 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.