President Aoun approves Lebanon elections, date set for 15 May

President Aoun approves Lebanon elections, date set for 15 May
Lebanon President Michel Aoun had disagreed with parliament about when the vote should take place.
2 min read
30 December, 2021
Michel Aoun's decision comes amid political and economic turmoil in Lebanon [Anadolu/Getty]

Lebanon President Michel Aoun on Wednesday approved a general election for 15 May as his country continues to grapple with economic and political crises.

Aoun signed a presidential decree greenlighting the vote one day after Prime Minister Najib Mikati gave it his go-ahead.

Workers helping to run the legislative election will head to the polls on 12 May, while Lebanese citizens living abroad will vote on 6 and 8 May, Lebanon's presidency tweeted.

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The date of the election has proved controversial, with Aoun insisting on a May vote while parliament wanted it to take place on 27 March, according to The National.

Anadolu Agency reported that the move by parliament to bring the election forward was challenged in court by the Strong Lebanon alliance of political parties, which has 23 of Lebanon's 128 MPs.

The head of Lebanon's constitutional council said last week the legal challenge had not yet been ruled on.

Aoun's vote approval comes as Lebanon reels from the loss of over 90 percent of the value of its pound since 2019, while more than 80 percent of the country is now living in poverty.

On the diplomatic front, tensions with Saudi Arabia and other Arab allies are still tense over remarks made by George Kordahi on the war in Yemen while he was serving as information minister.

Kordahi quit his post earlier this month in an attempt to calm the political storm.

Lebanon's cabinet is also deadlocked as Hezbollah and fellow Shia party Amal urge that Tarek Bitar be removed from his role as the judge probing last August's deadly Beirut port explosion.

The cabinet convened for the last time in mid-October.