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Lebanon parliament speaker Nabih Berri says no presidential vote without IMF regulations

Lebanon parliament speaker Nabih Berri says no presidential vote without IMF regulations

Lebanon parliament speaker Nabih Berri says no presidential vote without IMF regulations

Nabih Berri says no presidential vote without IMF regulations

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  • Lebanon has been without a fully functional government since May.
  • President Michel Aoun’s six-year term expires on Oct. 31, and leading lawmakers fear no replacement will be selected.
  • An IMF agreement is regarded as the only path for Lebanon to recover from a financial disaster.
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Nabih Berri, the speaker of Lebanon’s parliament, said on Saturday that he would not convene a session to pick a new president until the legislature passed measures required for an IMF bailout.

An IMF agreement is widely regarded as the only path for Lebanon to recover from a financial disaster that has pushed the country into its worst destabilizing crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.

President Michel Aoun’s six-year term expires on Oct. 31, and leading lawmakers have expressed concern that no replacement will be selected, threatening even more institutional paralysis given that Lebanon has been without a fully functional government since May.

“I will not call for a presidential election session until after the reform laws required by the IMF have been adopted,” Berri said during a meeting with journalists at his Beirut residence, in comments confirmed to Reuters by his office.

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He stated that parliament should seek to pass the reform bills before August, citing the urgency of the measures.

Berri, who has been in charge for nearly three decades, said on Friday that forming a government would need a “miracle.” He didn’t go into detail.

According to the constitution, the president makes a decree appointing a new prime minister after binding consultations with MPs and must co-sign any new cabinet formation.

Lebanon achieved a staff-level agreement with the IMF in April for a $3 billion rescue, but the whole agreement is contingent on the approval of legislation such as capital restrictions, banking restructuring legislation, and the 2022 budget.

According to Lebanon’s constitution, the speaker must summon parliament “at least one month and no more than two months before the end of the term of office of the President of the Republic.”

If it fails, the chamber meets automatically on the 10th day before the term’s end, according to the constitution.

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Aoun came to power after a 29-month presidential vacuum caused by parliament’s inability to agree on a president. The deadlock was broken by a series of agreements that ensured victory for Aoun and his powerful Iran-backed partner Hezbollah.

Aoun is only eligible for one term, and major political groups have yet to reach an agreement on his replacement.

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