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Seven months have passed completely and completely since the presidential vacancy in Lebanon has passed, and the country is looking for its 14th president, with whom it is hoped that the path to get out of the tunnel will start, and reform and rescue steps will be initiated.
With the end of the seventh month of the vacancy for the first presidency (October 31, 2022 – May 31, 2023), this term entered a new turn, the first of its kind, with the United States directly joining the international campaign. To expedite the election of a new president for Lebanon, amid the US administration’s “threat” to impose sanctions on officials who delay this entitlement, accompanied by a warning of the danger of “state collapse” in Lebanon.
In the context, it is noteworthy that the new American position on the presidential election in Lebanon was stated by the US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Barbara Leaf, who said:
“We work with the Europeans; To push the Lebanese parliament towards carrying out its duty to elect a president for the country,” considering that the possibility of the collapse of the Lebanese state “still exists.”
On the other side of this picture, information was circulated that there is a list of 19 Lebanese personalities, headed by Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, against whom sanctions may be issued by the Treasury, according to the “Magnitsky Law”, if it is proven that they are involved in obstructing the work of Parliament. So that the president of the republic is not elected within the current month.
It should also be noted that the new American position came exactly one month after the issuance of the US State Department statement on the presidential crisis in Lebanon, specifically in early May, which called for the election of a president “free from corruption” from within the country and not at the hands of the international community.
Facts and anticipation
Developments took place at the height of the blocking decision imposed by “Hezbollah” and implemented by Nabih Berri, who recently stated that he would not call a session to elect the President of the Republic, under the pretext of “the lack of a suitable candidate” to compete with the candidate of the “duo”, the head of the “Marada Movement” Suleiman Franjieh.
Although the last hours witnessed what can be considered a confirmation of the agreement between the opposition and the “Free Patriotic Movement” on the nomination of the former minister, Jihad Azour, after which it is no longer possible to bet on contradictions, distinctions, and differences within the “movement” that would overthrow the understanding on Azour’s nomination.
While the opposition, along with the Free Patriotic Movement, announces the official candidacy of Jihad Azour for the first presidency, sources told Al-Bayan that work is underway to raise the parliamentary votes that might be granted to Azour to exceed 60 votes, so the battle to reach the Baabda Palace will be waged.
In order to raise this number, and according to the same sources, the opposition, along with the Free Patriotic Movement, is engaged in a “stage after stage” battle, the first of which revolves around how to attract the votes of 15 deputies, who can be placed today in the “gray” area, who have not yet decided who they will grant. their votes.
Here, the sources indicate that the ceiling of the votes that may be granted to Azour, to more than 60 votes, means that the scenario of calling for an election session is progressing.
Will Berri do it and call for a session that might be in favor of Azour?
Faced with this scene, Al-Bayan sources unanimously agreed that the “duo” is now in a difficult situation, imposed, especially after the intersection of information that the call for a presidential election session will need an external impetus, whose features began with Paris, which fears the image of Lebanon, and reached Washington, which threatened to impose sanctions on Lebanese officials for failing to elect a president.