President Michel Aoun left Lebanon’s presidential palace Sunday, marking the end of his six-year term without a replacement, leaving the small nation in a political vacuum that is likely to worsen its historic economic meltdown.
As Aoun’s term ends, the country is being run by a caretaker government after Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati failed to form a new Cabinet following May 15 parliamentary elections. Aoun and his supporters warn that such a government doesn’t have full power to run the country, saying that weeks of “constitutional chaos” lay ahead.
In a speech outside the palace, Aoun told thousands of supporters that he has accepted the resignation of Mikati’s government. The move is likely to further deprive the caretaker administration of legitimacy and worsen existing political tensions in the country.
Mikati responded shortly afterward with a statement from his office saying that his government will continue to perform its duties in accordance with the constitution.