BEIRUT — They are ready to say goodbye.
Supporters of Lebanese President Michel Aoun began setting up tents near the presidential palace in Baabda on Saturday, to have a front row seat for the departure of the head of state.
Aoun will leave the palace on Sunday, a day before his term ends on Oct. 31. He will then go to his residence in Rabieh, in the Metn.
Several local media outlets show photos and videos of dozens of tents, orange and gray, lined up on the ground between trees. Photos of Aoun and flags of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), the party founded by Aoun, have also been installed.
A few weeks ago, the FPM called on its supporters to participate in a "popular procession" for the departure of Aoun to follow him "in his return to his family, with honor and dignity."
On several occasions, the president left doubt about his intentions to leave the presidential palace, including a statement declaring he would only leave "if the situation is normal and no one seeks to harm."
Security outbursts are feared in light of the president's unpopularity among many Lebanese citizens. His tenure has been marked by a severe financial crisis that began in 2019 and the deadly Aug.4, 2020, Beirut port explosion.
On the eve of his departure, the head of state is multiplying interviews and speeches. He told Reuters on Saturday that he fears "constitutional chaos "given that no successor has been elected to replace him and caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati's government has been in caretaker status since May.