Lebanon fails to elect president for the sixth time

BEIRUT (Agencies): Lebanon parliament on Thursday failed to elect president for the sixth time.

During the previous vote last week, Michel Moawad, whose father Rene Moawad served as president, was the frontrunner in the 128-seat parliament but still failed to muster the two-thirds majority needed to win.

Parliament is split between supporters of the powerful Shiite Hezbollah movement and its opponents, neither having a clear majority.

Hezbollah rejects the candidacy of Moawad, who is seen as close to the US, and calls for a “compromise candidate” to be found.

In the meantime, most lawmakers from its bloc spoilt their ballots.

This year’s vacancy comes as Lebanon is gripped by an unprecedented financial crisis that has pushed much of the population into poverty since 2019.

During a vacancy, the powers of the president fall to the cabinet.

But since May Lebanon has had only a caretaker government that lacks the authority to push through the sweeping reforms demanded by the International Monetary Fund as a condition for releasing billions of dollars in emergency loans.