Lebanon: sit-in of two deputies in Parliament to demand the election of a head of state

Melhem Khalaf and Najat Saliba speak during a news conference, at the end of the 11th session of the presidential elections, at the Parliament in Beirut, Lebanon, January 19, 2023. via REUTERS - LEBANESE PARLIAMENT

Text by: RFI Follow

2 mins

This is an unprecedented fact in Lebanon, opposition deputies have decided to sleep in Parliament since Thursday, January 19.

Exasperated by the political blockages which prevent the election of a new President of the Republic whose post has been vacant since the end of October, they hope to convene an open parliamentary session until a new Head of State is elected.

Time is running out, because every day the country is sinking a little deeper into the economic crisis.


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With our correspondent in Beirut,

Sophie Guignon

Plunged into darkness for lack of electricity in Parliament, opposition MP

Najat Saliba

, who initiated this sit-in with MP

Melhem Khalaf,

explains her fight in a video that has gone around social networks.


We will stay in parliament until a president is elected.

I think people can't take it anymore.

The dollar is at 50,000 Lebanese pounds.

There are people who have nothing left on the 10th of the month, it is not acceptable.

To rebuild institutions in this country, we first need a president.


► To read also: 

Lebanon: the Lebanese pound continues to fall

But the battle is far from won in the face of bargaining which sees two parliamentary blocs opposing each other.

The camp of the Shiite party of pro-Iranian Hezbollah on the one hand, and on the other its fierce opponents of the Christian right.

نحن هنا لنرفع الصوت بضرورة ان يكون لنا رئيس قادر على وضع حدّ لاللاياد ب!

ادعوا الزملاء النواب للتوجه فورا الى المجلس حتى انتخاب الرئيس!


— Najat Aoun Saliba (@najat_saliba) January 19, 2023

► To read also: Lebanon: Emmanuel Macron wants to "release" the Lebanese leaders who are blocking reforms in the country

“Unheard of clientelism”

Reached by telephone, because the press does not have access to Parliament, MP Melhem Khalaf denounces a sclerotic system: “ 

We are falling into a polarization that cannot elect a president.

So there are blocks where they are used to making give-and-take compromises: the Presidency of the Republic against the Prime Minister.

It is an unheard-of clientelism.


The two deputies, who have just spent their second night in Parliament, hope to mobilize other elected officials to increase the pressure.

► To read also: European judges in Lebanon to investigate the actions of the Governor of the Central Bank


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  • Lebanon

  • Economic crisis