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Lebanon caretaker Premier calls for 'saving' country by electing new president

March 23, 2023 at 7:30 pm

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati [Houssam Shbaro – Anadolu Agency]

Lebanon’s caretaker Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, said Thursday that “the situation requires a quick emergency operation to save the country,” stressing that the solution is to elect a president, Anadolu News Agency reports.

Mikati met with Parliament Speaker, Nabih Berri, at the assembly’s headquarters in Beirut, according to a statement by Berri’s office.

“The meeting of the Parliament’s bureau, scheduled for Thursday, has been postponed to refer some laws to parliamentary committees, so that the next parliamentary session will be productive,” Mikati told a news conference in Beirut.

Regarding his meeting with Berri, Mikati said: “We agreed that the situation requires a quick emergency operation, as the government cannot play its role with a broken Parliament and with the absence of an elect president.”

Since last September, Lebanese lawmakers failed for the eleventh time to elect a new president.

Mikati stressed that “electing a president is necessary,” adding: “We are faced with 3 options: either to agree with the International Monetary Fund on a loan for Lebanon, to agree with each other, or not to agree at all; the latter is what we are doing.”

“The people pay the price, and the political forces are responsible for that,” he added.

Since 2019, Lebanon has been facing a crippling economic crisis that, according to the World Bank, is one of the worst the world has seen in modern times.

The country has been unable to elect a new president since October 2022 to replace former President, Michel Aoun, amid differences among political rivals.

Lebanon has also been without a fully functioning government since May last year, with Mikati and his Cabinet having limited powers in their current caretaker status.

READ: Lebanon’s Mufti calls for choosing president before it’s too late