Lebanese Parliament Fails to Elect New President

An MP casts his vote during the first session to elect a new president at the parliament building in Beirut, Lebanon September 29, 2022. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir
An MP casts his vote during the first session to elect a new president at the parliament building in Beirut, Lebanon September 29, 2022. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir
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Lebanese Parliament Fails to Elect New President

An MP casts his vote during the first session to elect a new president at the parliament building in Beirut, Lebanon September 29, 2022. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir
An MP casts his vote during the first session to elect a new president at the parliament building in Beirut, Lebanon September 29, 2022. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

Parliament failed to elect a new head of state on Thursday to replace President Michel Aoun when his term ends on Oct. 31, and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said he would call another session when consensus emerged on a candidate.

However, it is unclear whether legislators in a deeply divided parliament will be able to reach a quorum for the session, raising prospects of renewed political paralysis.

The bulk of votes cast by lawmakers at Thursday's session -- 63 -- were blank. Michel Moawad won the backing of 36 of 122 lawmakers who attended.

Unless consensus emerges on a candidate, the presidency looks set to fall vacant when Aoun's term ends.

Lebanon is going through an economic meltdown and the government struggles to implement structural reforms required for a bailout from the International Monetary Fund.

The crisis, which started in late 2019, has plunged three-quarters of the country into poverty and the Lebanese pound has lost 90% of its value against the dollar.

Anticipating a presidential vacuum, politicians have stepped up efforts to agree a new cabinet led by Prime Minister Najib Mikati - who is currently serving in a caretaker capacity - to which presidential powers could pass until a president can be agreed.



Palestinian Authority at Risk of Collapse, Norway Says

Foreign Minister of Norway Espen Barth Eide attends the annual Kultaranta Talks -debate session on foreign and security policy at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland June 13, 2024. (Lehtikuva/Markku Ulander via Reuters)
Foreign Minister of Norway Espen Barth Eide attends the annual Kultaranta Talks -debate session on foreign and security policy at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland June 13, 2024. (Lehtikuva/Markku Ulander via Reuters)
TT

Palestinian Authority at Risk of Collapse, Norway Says

Foreign Minister of Norway Espen Barth Eide attends the annual Kultaranta Talks -debate session on foreign and security policy at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland June 13, 2024. (Lehtikuva/Markku Ulander via Reuters)
Foreign Minister of Norway Espen Barth Eide attends the annual Kultaranta Talks -debate session on foreign and security policy at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland June 13, 2024. (Lehtikuva/Markku Ulander via Reuters)

The Palestinian Authority could collapse in the coming months, Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide said on Monday, citing a lack of funding, continuing violence and the fact that half a million Palestinians are not allowed to work in Israel.

"The situation is extremely dire. The Palestinian Authority, with whom we work closely, are warning us that they might be collapsing this summer," Barth Eide told Reuters.

"If it collapses, you could end up having another Gaza, which would be terrible for everybody, including the people of Israel," he added.

Norway chairs the international donor group to the Palestinians and is a backer of the PA.