BEIRUT — The International Support Group for Lebanon (ISG) on Friday urged Lebanese political leaders and MPs to "assume their responsibilities" and elect a new president to end a more than seven-month vacuum.
Lebanon failed to elect a president on Wednesday in the 12th parliamentary presidential election session.
"After eight months with neither a president nor a fully functioning government, the ISG is deeply concerned that the current political stalemate is exacerbating the erosion of state institutions and undermining Lebanon’s ability to address the country’s pressing socioeconomic, financial, security and humanitarian challenges," the ISG said in a statement.
"For the sake of the Lebanese people and the stability of the country, the ISG urges the political leadership and members of Parliament to assume their responsibilities and prioritize the national interest by electing a new president without further delay," ISG also said, adding that it "urges the authorities to expedite the adoption and implementation of a comprehensive and inclusive reform agenda to put the country on a path to recovery and sustainable development."
On Wednesday, in the first and only round of voting, former Finance Minister Jihad Azour — who is supported by the majority of opposition blocs — received 59 votes, while Marada Movement leader Sleiman Frangieh — who is supported by Amal, Hezbollah and other MPs — received 51 votes.
None of them garnered enough votes to win the round.
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri on Thursday scheduled a legislative session for next week. He has not yet scheduled another presidential election session.
Since its launch in 2013, the International Support Group has brought together the United Nations and the governments of China, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, together with the European Union and the Arab League. The body is meant to help mobilize support and assistance for Lebanon’s state institutions.