BEIRUT — Parliament’s first session Thursday to elect a president, which failed to do so, “should serve as a step towards more concerted efforts” to choose the next head of state by the Oct. 31 deadline, UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Joanna Wronecka said in a tweet the same day.
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri called the session on Tuesday despite there being no consensus on a candidate between various political groups, and amid ongoing negotiations.
Out of 128 MPs, 122 attended Thursday’s session, which guaranteed quorum. However, they failed to elect a president. Of the attendees, 63 MPs cast a blank ballot, 36 voted for their colleague MP Michel Mouawad (independent/North Lebanon III), 11 voted for Salim Eddé, the co-founder of Murex company and shareholder of L’Orient-Le Jour, 10 voted for “Lebanon,” one voted for Mahsa Amini, the Iranian woman whose death after her arrest by the Iranian morality police caused nationwide protests, and one voted for “the line of Rashid Karami,” the former prime minister who was assassinated in 1987.
After this first round, a number of MPs withdrew from the session, which forced adjournment as the quorum was incomplete (86 out of 128 MPs must attend in order to reach quorum).
At the end of the session, Berri said he would wait for a consensus to be reached around a candidate before calling for a new session.
Domestic political figures and the international community have regularly called for the election of a new president within the constitutional deadline, as Michel Aoun’s six-year term ends on Oct. 31.
On the sidelines of the 77th United Nations General Assembly in New York in September, representatives from the United States, France and Saudi Arabia said in a joint statement that Lebanon must hold timely elections to choose a new president by a constitutional deadline.”