Lebanon speaker announces session to elect new president
This will be the first attempt by lawmakers to elect a new head of state to succeed President Michel Aoun.
Lebanon's parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri called on Tuesday for parliament to meet this week to elect a president, replacing Michel Aoun, whose term expires at the end of October.
"Berri called for a session to be held at 11:00 am (8:00 GMT) on Thursday, September 29, 2022, in order to elect a president," a statement from his office said.
The session marks the first attempt by lawmakers to elect a new head of state, while the country is in the grips of a financial crisis, described by the World Bank as one of the worst.
However, it comes amid a months-long political deadlock that has prevented the formation of a new government since the outgoing one's mandate expired in May.
With no sign of compromise among Lebanon's bitterly divided politicians, it may take several sessions of parliament to name a president.
Before President Aoun was elected in 2016, the position had been vacant for more than two years.
However, with more than 80% of the population living in poverty and the currency losing more than 95% of its value against the US dollar since 2019, Lebanon cannot afford any delays.
The 2022 budget was approved by the Lebanese parliament yesterday, but it fell short of the economic reforms needed to open the door for an IMF agreement since the exchange rate used to calculate customs tax receipts is far lower than the market value of the Lebanese pound.
An agreement with the lender of last resort is viewed as the first and most important move Lebanon must take to start recovering from a three-year financial collapse that has left the majority of the population in poverty and that has thrown the nation into its worst crisis since the 1975–1990 Civil War.