A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

To No One's Surprise, Lebanese Parliament Fails to Agree on a President

It should come as little surprise given Lebanon's persistent political deadlock that the Lebanese Parliament failed to elect a new President in its first round of voting today, with Samir Geagea falling far short of the necessary two-thirds vote. Geagea got 48 votes; Henry Helou (Backed by Walid Jumblatt) got 16; one went to former President Amin Gemayel; there were 52 blank ballots and seven void ones. In subsequent rounds a simple majority can elect.

Here's the Daily Star report, and MEI's own Paul Salem offers a Q&A backgrounder on the elections on the MEI website. These sorts of deadlocks have become standard in recent years, and eventually there will emerge a compromise candidate. Or perhaps Karl Sharro will prove prophetic: "Stapler Accidentally Elected President of Lebanon."  A sample:
The stapler's lack of involvement in the country's long civil war worked in its favour, and as someone put it 'at least it's not a war criminal'. Another person we spoke to said that the stapler represented 'a symbol of unity because it joins papers together', which is more than could be said of all the other candidates.

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