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Lebanon void expands as Central Bank, security, presidential posts go vacant

As the presidential vacuum enters its ninth month, the central bank and the army are also facing a leadership void as political divisions hinder appointments.
AFP via Getty Images

BEIRUT — Lebanon faces yet another vacancy in the country’s top posts after the cabinet failed to meet to elect a successor to the central bank governor, whose term ends on Monday.

The small Mediterranean country is in the throes of a debilitating economic crisis compounded by a political deadlock that has left the country without a president for nine months now.

The heavily divided parliament has failed more than 12 times to elect a new head of state since former President Michel Aoun’s term ended in October 2022. Since then, the country has been run by a caretaker government with limited powers, headed by Prime Minister Najib Mikati. Major political parties have argued that the current government is taking on presidential powers in tasks like naming a new central bank governor. Mikati’s government was formally dismissed by Aoun before his term ended last October. Under Lebanon’s power-sharing system, the central bank governor is appointed jointly by the president of the republic and an active cabinet. But with a caretaker government, and a vacancy in the presidency, such an appointment is now unlikely. 

The local news outlet L’Orient Today reported that ministers from the Christian Marada Movement and the Free Patriotic Movement as well as from the Shiite Hezbollah movement boycotted a Thursday cabinet session that had been scheduled by Mikati and parliament speaker Nabih Berri to appoint a successor to Riad Salameh as head of the central bank. The session was thus canceled for lack of quorum.

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