president hits out as failing nation heads

Lebanon’s president hits out as failing nation heads toward political vacuum

BEIRUT: The Lebanese president has criticized parliament for not choosing a successor, settling political opponents as he prepares to step down, and said the caretaker government was happy the country remained paralyzed.

Michel Aoun also lashed out at the “hostile” media, claiming they were “conspired” to combat corruption, and that Acting Prime Minister Najib Mikati was forced to resign from the government before the end of his term.

The Lebanese parliament remains paralyzed after it handed back a lower house without a clear majority in May elections. Hezbollah and its allies hold the most seats and run the executive branch. Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement and its allies are his second largest bloc, with the third containing the non-aligned independence faction. Neither bloc can agree to a valid coalition, nor can it get enough votes for a presidential candidate to be directly elected.

Aoun accused Mikati of having no serious intention to establish a government through negotiations.

He demanded that FPM boss Gebran Bassil be allowed to elect ministers like other political parties.

Aoun is scheduled to leave the presidential palace on October 30, the day before his term officially ends. He is escorted by a motorcade of FPM supporters to Rabier’s villa.

The outgoing president lamented the constant crises he faced during his tenure, explaining that not a single official in the country helped him fight corruption. I haven’t been bribed by any state like the officials in the state do,” he said.

Regarding the financial crisis, the chief said, “The country’s fiscal and monetary policy is responsible, and all of it needs to be considered.

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If Mr. Berri calls for a presidential election meeting to be held as soon as possible, we will respond to calls for dialogue.

With the presidential vacancy looming, legal experts stress that the Mikati government may indeed continue to function in an interim mode.

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