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Lebanon speaker calls for session to elect new president

The mandate of Lebanese President Michel Aoun runs out at the end of October but as parliament prepares to meet to elect a successor there is no consensus over who should take the helm. ©AFP

Beirut (AFP) - Lebanon's speaker Nabih Berri called Tuesday for parliament to meet this week to elect a president to replace Michel Aoun whose term expires at the end of October.

"Berri called for a session to be held at 11:00 am (8:00 GMT) on Thursday September 29, 2022 in order to elect a president," a statement from his office said.

The session will mark the first attempt by lawmakers to elect a new head of state at a time when the country is in the grips of a financial crisis described by the World Bank as one of the worst in modern times.

But it comes without any consensus on a replacement for Aoun amid a months-long political deadlock that has prevented the formation of a new government since the outgoing one's mandate expired in May.

With no compromise in sight among Lebanon's bitterly divided politicians, it may take several sessions of parliament before a president is finally named.

The post lay vacant for more than two years before Aoun was elected in 2016.

But with more than 80 percent of the population living in poverty and the currency having lost more than 95 percent of its value against the dollar since 2019, Lebanon can ill afford any delays.

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