Lebanon could elect first president in over two years

Lebanon could elect first president in over two years
Ex-prime minister Saad Hariri is expected to publicly back Aoun as president tomorrow, a move that will bring Lebanon closer to ending two and a half year presidential vacuum
2 min read
19 October, 2016
Aoun and Hariri have not been the best of friends historically [AFP]

Michel Aoun moved a step closer to becoming the president of Lebanon today, after he reportedly received backing from one of his historical opponents, though this has yet to be made official.

Saad Hariri, the leader of the Future movement, is expected to formally back Aoun, along with the rest of his MPs, in a speech he will give tomorrow. This could ensure enough number of votes to get Aoun elected in parliament.

It is expected that Aoun, 83, will appoint Hariri, 46, as his Prime Minister, thereby ending the country's political vacuum, as part of their deal.

There has not been a president in the country for two and a half years, after Michel Sleiman stepped down on 24 May 2014.

There has been a long-standing animosity between Aoun and Hariri, due to Aoun's support of Hizballah and Iran, which has made Hariri's support the more intriguing.

In 2013, Aoun's party, the Change and Reform Bloc published a book called 'The impossible vindication', accusing Hariri's father, Rafiq Hariri, of corruption.

Experts say Hariri's about-face is motivated by a bid to return to power, the shortest path to which is a deal with the country's most powerful Christian leader and Hizballah.