Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said he would call another session when consensus emerged on a candidate, as the parliament failed to elect a new head of state on Thursday to replace President Michel Aoun when his term ends on Oct. 31.
The bulk of votes cast by lawmakers at Thursday’s session — 63 — were blank. Christian politician Michel Moawad won the backing of 36 of 122 lawmakers who attended.
Unless consensus emerges on a candidate, the presidency looks set to fall vacant when Aoun’s term ends, at a time of deep financial crisis.
Reserved for a Maronite Christian in Lebanon’s sectarian system, the presidency has fallen vacant several times since the 1975-90 civil war.
Anticipating a presidential vacuum, politicians have stepped up efforts to agree a new cabinet led by the Sunni Muslim Prime Minister Najib Mikati — who is currently serving in a caretaker capacity — to which presidential powers could pass until a president can be agreed.