Lebanon’s Parliament failed to elect a new president amid a political deadlock. The presidential vacuum marks a new phase in Lebanon’s crisis that began with a financial collapse in 2019, and further instability is expected. The country remains without a head of state and has a Cabinet with limited powers since the former President, Michel Aoun, left office on 31 October after completing a six-year term without Parliament’s consensus on a successor. Following Aoun’s departure, Lebanese lawmakers ruled on 3 November that the caretaker government led by Najib Mikati is the country’s legitimate executive authority and can assume the powers of the president in accordance with the constitution.
Prime Minister Najib Mikati and President Michel Aoun resumed consultations on cabinet formation after a pause that lasted several weeks but without a breakthrough. President Aoun’s mandate came to an end on 31 October, leaving behind a power vacuum as parliament failed to elect his successor on several occasions. Divisions remain among political blocs over the makeup of a new cabinet and without a president and limited caretaker government, Lebanon’s political crisis deepens. The continuing failure to form a new cabinet means crucial economic reforms (including lifting banking secrecy and addressing the plummeting exchange rate) remain unimplemented, raising the prospect of popular unrest.