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DIPLOMACY

EU calls Lebanon for presidential election and formation of government with 'utmost urgency'

EU calls Lebanon for presidential election and formation of government with 'utmost urgency'

The European Union's flag. (Credit: NNA)

BEIRUT — European Union Head of Diplomacy Josep Borrell in a Tuesday statement calls on Lebanese authorities to elect a new president and form a government "with the utmost urgency," while Lebanon faces an unprecedented total vacuum in the Executive power.

"On Oct. 31, the mandate of President Aoun expired. After four inconclusive rounds of parliamentary votes, no candidate was elected and the presidency is now vacant," Borrell said. 

"Since the last general elections in May, no government was formed. Such political vacuum is occurring while Lebanon is facing a deteriorating socioeconomic situation. Institutional volatility compounded with economic instability would pose serious risks for Lebanon and its people,” the EU official warned.

"The EU once again calls on the Lebanese leadership to organize presidential elections and form a government with the utmost urgency," Borrell insisted. 

For the first time in its history, Lebanon is in a double vacancy at the executive level after Aoun’s mandate ended on Oct. 31, and no government has been formed yet, Mikati's cabinet is in charge of expediting affairs since May's legislative elections.

Borrell reminded that "In July 2022, the EU renewed a sanctions framework that allows it to impose restrictive measures on individuals or entities blocking an exit to the Lebanese crisis."

He also reaffirmed the importance of reaching a final agreement with the International Monetary Fund in order "to facilitate the disbursement of the additional international funding and reverse the deteriorating trend of the Lebanese economy."

"The long overdue reforms must be undertaken without any further delay," the EU official insisted.

The statement concluded by reaffirming that the “EU remains committed to continue assisting Lebanon and its people to move towards the recovery and stability they deserve,” and urged the Lebanese leadership to “face its responsibilities and take action.”

Two days before his term ends, Aoun announced that he had signed the resignation of the government and that he had sent a letter to Parliament to notify it of the procedure and to ask it to take the necessary measures regarding the matter. In response to the letter, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri has summoned the country's MPs to a session on Thursday.

According to experts, Aoun's latest move is considered purely procedural and does not have a legal basis.

According to the Constitution, the authority of the president is transitioned to the government in place in the event of a presidential vacuum; however, Aoun and the Free Patriotic Movement, which he founded and which is currently headed by his son-in-law Gebran Bassil, are against the transition of the president's authority to the current government given its caretaker capacity.

But the tensions between Aoun and FPM, and both caretaker Prime Minister and Premier-designate Najib Mikati on the other, prevented the formation of a new cabinet. Aoun accused Mikati of not wanting to form his new cabinet and discriminating against the FPM in the discussions on the ministries.

In this regard, Mikati, who was designated by Parliament to form the next cabinet, said last week that it seemed "preferable" that his cabinet continues to manage current affairs over the formation of a new cabinet that "might not obtain the confidence" of Parliament.

On the diplomatic front, Iran called Monday for the formation of a "strong and national" government in Lebanon, while the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the same day that the situation "requires the proper and full functioning of all the country's institutions to take the necessary measures to redress the [situation in the] country and urgently improve the situation of the Lebanese."


BEIRUT — European Union Head of Diplomacy Josep Borrell in a Tuesday statement calls on Lebanese authorities to elect a new president and form a government "with the utmost urgency," while Lebanon faces an unprecedented total vacuum in the Executive power."On Oct. 31, the mandate of President Aoun expired. After four inconclusive rounds of parliamentary votes, no candidate was...