Following 45 failed parliamentary sessions to elect a president, Lebanon may finally have a breakthrough next week.
Over the past 2 years, Lebanon has been (barely) functioning without a president due to the inability of the parliament to meet quorum and vote for one.
Lebanon has gone down in history for a nation that went the longest without a head of state. The second longest time a nation went without a head of state is also Lebanon. We even beat our own record – because we’re overachievers. Belgian comes in 3rd place.
Who’s going to be the President?
It seems like Michel Aoun will become the next president of Lebanon for the next 6 years. He now has the backing of Free Patriotic Movement (his party), the Lebanese Forces – following Samir Geagea’s withdrawal and then nomination of Aoun, as well as Hezbollah (Aoun’s ally).
A few days ago, Saad Hariri pulled his support from Suleiman Frangieh, the only other candidate, and gave it to Aoun in an effort to end the presidential vacuum. His party, Future, are conflicted with his decision and several Future leaders said they wouldn’t be voting for Aoun.
Role and Responsibilities of the Lebanese President
The president of Lebanon:
- is commander-in-chief of the Lebanese Armed Forces and security forces
- May appoint and dismiss the prime minister and cabinet
- Promulgates laws passed by Parliament
- May also veto bills
- May dissolve Parliament. (Which they deserve right now for renewing their own mandates without an election)
Election Process of the Lebanese President
Thirty to sixty days before the expiration of a president’s term, the speaker of the Chamber of Deputies (Majlis al-nuwab) calls for a special session to elect a new president, which selects a candidate for a six-year term on a secret ballot in which a two-thirds majority is required to elect.
If no candidate receives a two-thirds majority, a second ballot is held in which only a majority is required to elect.
An individual cannot be reelected president until six years have passed from the expiration of his or her first term.
Quorum is the minimum number of deputies required to conduct a vote. It is 50% plus 1 of the number of deputies. So if there’s 128 deputies, there needs to be at least 65 deputies physically present for the vote to take place and be considered legitimate.
This is why the parliamentary sessions for the election of the president kept failing. Aoun’s ally, Hezbollah, kept leaving the session (strategically and on purpose) so that they lose quorum and can’t hold an election.
This was done to ensure that no one else but Aoun wins the election.
And it looks like it may have worked.