Activists protest Lebanese Parliament extension

AGORA moderator's picture

BEIRUT: In protest over a possible extension of Parliament's mandate, political activists took to the streets Thursday, raising banners and waving flags as they marched toward Riad al-Solh Square near Parliament.

“We have come here today to tell you [politicians] that you are an authority that is outside of the law,” said Samer Abdullah, program director at the Civil Movement for Accountability.

The march kicked off near Electricite du Liban in Mar Mikhael, and continued until protestors reached Riad al-Solh Square in Downtown Beirut.

If Parliament extends its mandate, it will be the second time in a two years. Set originally for June 2013, parliamentary elections were delayed for 17 months in May of last year. Parliament’s current term is now set to expire in November.

However, there are doubts that elections will take place on time, especially as Parliament has failed on several occasions to elect a president, due to lack of quorum.

The presidential post is still vacant, with no successor to President Michel Sleiman, whose six-year term ended on May 25.

“You are responsible for loose security,” Abdullah said. “Tripoli, Arsal, Sidon and other regions will settle when you [politicians] agree.”

The activists called on the Cabinet to “speed up the appointment of the Elections Supervisory Council,” so it can commence its responsibilities dictated by law.

“We will not withdraw our demand for timely parliamentary elections,” Abdullah warned. “We will stand in your face and yell loudly: There is no authority without popular legitimacy.”