Today, Wednesday 23 April, the Lebanese parliament failed to elect a new president. Lawmakers had to elect a successor for President Michel Suleiman, whose six-year term ends on 25 May. Political turmoil and social unrest have divided the country, making it very difficult to reach agreement on a suitable presidential candidate.
After a ten month political stalemate, Lebanon’s designated Prime Minister, Tammam Salam, announced the formation of a government of national unity. The announcement was made on Saturday 15 February and on 18 February the newly formed government met for the first time. The 24-member government unites the Shia Hezbollah party, the Sunni Future Movement and the Christian Kataeb party.
On July 22 European Union officials have listed the military wing of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah on the EU’s terror list.
The Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Frans Timmermans said: ‘We took this important step today, by dealing with the military wing of Hezbollah, freezing its assets, hindering its fundraising and thereby limiting its capacity to act.’
On June 25, Lebanese security officials say a roadside bomb has exploded on the highway linking Beirut with Damascus. The bomb comes a day after heavy fighting between the army and militia’s of the radical Sunni clerk Ahmed al-Assir in the northern coastal town Sidon. Each side accuses the other of provoking the initial fighting. According to security forces 16 soldiers died in the fighting and at least 20 supporters of Assir were killed. Dozens are said to have been arrested. The fate of Assir is still unknown.