President Aoun leaves office amid Lebanon’s financial crisis

  • Dozens of supporters gather at palace to see Aoun off
  • He departs with no successor, caretaker cabinet
  • Critics blame him for calamities including port blast

BAABDA, Lebanon, Oct 30 (Reuters) – Michel Aoun, the 89-year-old Christian president who presided over Lebanon’s cataclysmic financial meltdown and the deadly Beirut port blast, vacates the presidential palace on Sunday, leaving a void at the top of a failing state.

Parliament has so far been unable to agree on a successor in the role, which has the power to sign bills into law, appoint new prime ministers and green-light government formations before they are voted on by parliament.

Like during more than half of Aoun’s time in office, Lebanon is currently governed by a caretaker cabinet as the premier-designate has been trying for six months to form a government.

Dozens of supporters gathered at Baabda Palace to say farewell to Aoun, wearing the orange associated with his Free Patriotic Movement party and carrying portraits of him as president and from decades ago when he served as army commander.

One 73-year-old man in the army fatigues he wore when serving under Aoun in the civil war told Reuters he wished Aoun could have three more years in office.

Therese Younes, a 16-year-old who had come with other teenagers, said she had backed Aoun since she was eight and was sad to see him go.

“If I was 18 years old, I would have left the country. There’s no Lebanon left after Michel Aoun,” said Younes.

Aoun is a deeply divisive figure,…

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