Lebanon's parliament has failed for the sixth time to elect a successor to former president Michel Aoun, whose mandate expired last month, bringing the cash-strapped Arab country closer to institutional deadlock amid a deep financial crisis.
Christian politician Michel Moawad, the son of former president Rene Moawad, who is seen as close to the United States, won the support of 43 of the 128-strong legislature.
His tally was, however, outnumbered by the 45 blank ballots cast by lawmakers close to the Hezbollah resistance movement, and fell short of the margin needed for victory.
Moawad's candidacy is opposed by Lebanon's resistance movement, with Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah calling last week for a president ready to stand up to the White House.
Lebanon’s presidency has fallen vacant several times since the 1975-1990 civil war. The country has also had only a caretaker government since May.
Lebanon is mired in an economic crisis that the World Bank has dubbed one of the worst in recent history amid crippling sanctions by the US and its allies.
The Lebanese pound has lost more than 95 percent of its value on the black market since 2019.
According to the United Nations, the ongoing financial crisis in Lebanon has caused poverty rates to reach more than 80 percent of the population, and food prices have risen by 2,000 percent.
Creditors under the US influence such the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have conditioned the release of billions of dollars in emergency loans to specific reforms which many observers would make the country dependent on the West.