POLICY Statement

October 31st, 2023: Statement from the American Task Force on Lebanon on the One-Year Anniversary of Lebanon’s Presidential Vacuum

October 31, 2023

On the anniversary of Lebanon’s presidential vacuum, the American Task Force on Lebanon (ATFL), a leadership organization of Americans of Lebanese descent, calls on Lebanon’s leadership to immediately elect a president. Today marks the one-year anniversary that Lebanon has been facing a complete executive vacuum since former President Michel Aoun vacated Baabda Palace following a six-year term in office.

This vacancy has impeded any solutions to reverse the large-scale economic and social collapse, which the World Bank has identified as one of the worst economic crises since the mid-nineteenth century.

Despite calls from the international community for the Lebanese authorities to enact economic reforms and chart a path towards recovery, no progress has taken place on this front. Furthermore, Lebanon has failed to elect a president after no less than twelve parliamentary sessions, plunging the country into further uncertainty.

On this anniversary, now is the time for all Lebanese factions represented in parliament to urgently compromise and find consensus around a presidential candidate who is competent, reform-minded, and committed to addressing the needs of the people.

“The possibility that the Israel-Hamas war could spread to Lebanon is all the more reason for parliament to come together now and elect a president,” said ATFL President Ed Gabriel. “Lebanon needs a reform-oriented president who can speak with authority and on behalf of the Lebanese people that Lebanon will remain neutral and not involve itself in regional wars, and also deliver on needed reforms to begin Lebanon’s economic recovery,” he added.

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