Lebanon Daily News Brief 10/31/2022

Monday, October 31, 2022



Former President Michel Aoun Departs Baabda Palace Upon Expiration of Term 
On Sunday, October 30th, 2022, Michel Aoun departed Baabda Palace for the last time as President of Lebanon. Serving as head of state since 2016, his timely departure was triggered by the expiration of his six-year term, and is part of an emerging constitutional crisis due to the lack of a formed government and the lack of an elected president. [Reuters

Caretaker Prime Minister Ignores Presidential Decree, Asserts Cabinet’s Legitimacy to Take Over As the Interim Executive Power
According to Arab News, “[Caretaker Prime Minister] Najib Mikati said that the country’s constitution allows for his administration’s use of presidential powers, and that he does not seek conflict in the crisis gripping Lebanese politics. The comments followed a last-gasp attempt to dissolve Mikati’s caretaker government by Aoun, 89, shortly before his term ended on Sunday. However, both Mikati and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri effectively ignored the decree.” [Arab News

Lebanon Receives First Cholera Vaccines from France
According to Reuters, “Lebanon took delivery on Monday of its first vaccines to combat a worsening cholera outbreak – together with sharply worded criticism of the crisis-hit country’s crumbling public health infrastructure from donor nation France. By Sunday, cases of cholera – a disease typically spread through contaminated water, food or sewage – stood at 1,447, with 17 deaths, since the first were recorded in the country a month ago, the health ministry said.” [Reuters]

Cypriot Delegation to Lebanon Addresses Maritime Boundary
According to the Cypriot special envoy to Lebanon, Tasos Tzionis, “There is no problem between Lebanon and Cyprus that cannot be resolved easily,” alluding to the maritime boundary agreement separating the two ‘neighboring’ countries in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, which Lebanon and Cyprus signed in 2007 without the enforcement of Lebanon’s government or the ratification of Lebanon’s parliament. Tzionis was in Beirut last week as part of a Cypriot delegation. [


Malcolm H. Kerr Carnegie Middle East Center
President Michel Aoun Has Left Office After the End of His Six-Year Term
Michael Young

Young writes, “President Michel Aoun has left office after a highly contentious six-year term. During that time, the president was often in conflict with leading members of the political class, most prominently Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri. This allowed Aoun to portray himself as a lone figure fighting the corruption of the politicians. Such an image would have been more convincing had the former president not devoted so much of his energies to advancing the political fortunes of his son in law Gebran Bassil, whom he had hoped would succeed him . . . Aoun’s hope that Bassil would be president after him was also one of the major sources of tension with Najib Mikati, the prime minister-designate. Mikati was tasked with forming a government after parliamentary elections last May, but moved with little conviction on that front. He felt it was better to run out the clock on Aoun’s term at the head of a caretaker government, thereby avoiding the conditions Bassil was trying to impose on the new government. Bassil’s hope was that he could use his sway over such a government as leverage to get himself elected president, or bring in someone of his choice, thereby setting up his own election in six years’ time. Bassil’s advantage was that his father in law had to sign any decree establishing a new government. With Aoun now gone, the situation has changed.” 

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Arab News
Lebanon’s Outgoing President Leaves Behind Power Vacuum, Slams Judiciary, Political Opponents

Najia Houssari

Houssari writes, “Lebanon’s outgoing head of state Michel Aoun on Sunday launched a blistering attack on his political opponents and the country’s judiciary as he bowed out of the presidential palace . . . Exiting one day before his mandate expired without a designated successor — deepening the country’s political crisis — he blasted the judiciary for failing to do its job and accused judges of taking bribes . . . In a letter to parliament, he called on it not to entrust the caretaker government with the powers of the president, since it had failed to elect a new president within the constitutional deadline . . . Escorting him to his home on Sunday, Aoun’s supporters raised olive branches, FPM banners, and Lebanese flags in addition to pictures of Aoun in his military uniform when he was army chief in the 1980s.”

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the American Task Force on Lebanon, a non-profit, nonpartisan leadership organization of Lebanese-Americans.