Lebanese Parliament fails to elect that country's president
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Lebanon’s parliament failed for the sixth consecutive time on Thursday to elect the country’s next president as the government vacuum continues in that Middle Eastern nation.


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Blank votes again received the highest count, at 46, while independent MP Michel Moawad received 43. Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri set the seventh presidential session for next Thursday.

According to the Lebanese constitution, two-thirds of the votes in the 128-seat parliament are needed for a candidate to win in the first round. An absolute majority is required in the following rounds.

This was the second parliamentary session since the term of former President Michel Aoun ended at the end of October. It took 46 sessions, two and a half years and a series of political deals behind closed doors for Aoun to be elected in 2016.

The 128-member chamber could take months to reach the simple majority required to elect a president if deadlock persists as the country suffers an economic collapse and 80 percent of the population lives in poverty.

With a consensus candidate yet to emerge, the election deadlock was expected to continue next Thursday.

Moawad, whose father René was president for 18 days in 1989 before he was assassinated, has always been backed by a bloc that includes the Lebanese Forces, the largest party in parliament.

In the event that there is no head of state, the Government assumes presidential powers. But Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s Cabinet has also been in the interim for months since parliamentary elections in May and has extremely limited powers as a result.

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