Lebanon: President Leaves Without Successor

Photo: Reuters [via Al Jazeera]

The Facts

  • Michel Aoun, the 89-year-old Maronite Christian president of Lebanon and former leader of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) — whose rule coincided with the country's cataclysmic financial meltdown and the deadly Beirut port blast — left the presidential palace on Sunday without a chosen successor, leaving the presidency vacant.

  • As the Lebanese parliament continues to deliberate on who will be the next president of the republic, caretaker PM Najib Mikati has been unable to form a new government due to political complications, leaving Lebanon now without a president or a government.

The Spin

Narrative A

Aoun did his best under highly unfavorable conditions. Lebanon is a divided and corrupt country, and any president would have had a difficult time building consensus and effectively governing. Aoun, with the help of Hezbollah, managed to secure Lebanon's territorial rights — one of the few victories the country has scored in years.

Narrative B

Though Aoun's supporters contend that he valiantly fought corruption and protected Lebanon's Christian community, in reality, he's just as corrupt as any other Lebanese politician. Besides the fact that he changed sides and allied with Hezbollah, he's also guilty of setting up his corrupt son-in-law, Gebran Bassil, as the leader of his political party, the Free Patriotic Movement.

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