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Lebanon: Aoun leaves the presidential palace, the political crisis is likely to worsen

Acclaimed by thousands of supporters gathered near the Baabda Palace on the heights of Beirut, Michel Aoun announced in a speech that he had signed a decree accepting the resignation of the government, which risks aggravating the political impasse.

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Lebanon: Aoun leaves the presidential palace, the political crisis is likely to worsen

Acclaimed by thousands of supporters gathered near the Baabda Palace on the heights of Beirut, Michel Aoun announced in a speech that he had signed a decree accepting the resignation of the government, which risks aggravating the political impasse.

"This morning, I signed the decree considering the government resigning," said the president, in front of supporters who came to escort him to his private residence, brandishing his portraits and flags of the Courant Patriotique Libre (CPL, allied with the Hezbollah) which he founded.

The decision by the head of state, a Maronite Christian according to communal power-sharing in this multi-faith country, comes as his differences with the prime minister, a Sunni Muslim, prevent the formation of a long-awaited new government. the legislative elections last spring.

Prime Minister Najib Mikati, a billionaire, resigned after the legislative elections and was again chosen by the deputies to form a government.

According to experts, President Aoun's decision will have no real impact.

"What Aoun has done is unprecedented" since Lebanon adopted its constitution in 1926, Wissam Laham, a constitutional expert, told AFP.

"The law stipulates that a resigning government remains in place until a new cabinet is formed", he explained, considering that the decree makes "no sense".

- "Without value" -

The Prime Minister also reacted by considering that the decree signed by the president was "without any constitutional value", and assured that his government "continued to expedite current affairs".

The six-year term of Michel Aoun ends at midnight Monday without the deputies having managed to elect his successor because of their political divisions.

Parliament has met in vain, four times in the last month, to elect a president: neither the Shiite Muslim Hezbollah camp, the powerful armed movement which dominates political life in Lebanon, nor that of its opponents, who have no a clear majority to impose a candidate.

The mandate of the Head of State was marked by economic collapse, an explosion which ravaged Beirut and an unprecedented popular uprising.

But the CPL retains a popular base within the Christian community, whose leadership it disputes with the Lebanese Forces party of Samir Geagea.

"We came to escort the president at the end of his mandate, to tell him that we are with him and that we will continue the fight by his side," said Joumana Nahed, a teacher.

Dozens of supporters of the former commander-in-chief of the army, whom they call "general", many dressed in orange, the color of the CPL, spent the night in tents near the presidential palace.

Among them, Nabil Rahbani, 59, says he had already camped near the presidential palace for the first time "between 1989 and 1990, before the Syrian air force dislodged the general from the palace of Baabda".

At the end of the civil war, thousands of supporters of Michel Aoun, then head of a military government and who refused to hand over power to an elected president, had camped around the palace to support him, before he was dislodged by a Syrian military operation in October 1990.

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