For the second day in a row, independent Lebanese deputies continued their sit-in inside the parliament building in the center of the capital, Beirut, to intensify pressure on the political authority to elect a new president for the country, in light of an economic crisis and a presidential vacuum that has been going on for nearly 3 months.
The sit-in, inaugurated by two Lebanese deputies, came after Parliament failed the day before yesterday, Thursday, to elect a new president for the country for the 11th time since last September, to succeed Michel Aoun, whose term ended on October 31, 2022.
The two deputies, Melhem Khalaf and Najat Saliba, began the open sit-in inside the parliament hall, as part of the pressure towards intensifying the holding of sessions to elect a president of the republic.
On Friday, 12 deputies joined the sit-in, including independents and others produced by the October 17, 2019 movement, who call themselves "changers."
And the new protesters - according to Anadolu Agency - are Halima Kaakour, Paula Yacoubian, Waddah Al-Sadiq, Ibrahim Mneimneh, Elias Hanaksh, Abdel-Rahman Al-Bizri, Yassin Yassin, Firas Hamdan, Osama Saad, Adeeb Abdel-Masih, Cynthia Zarazir, and Nabil Badr.
In her statement, Halima Kaaqour said, "The idea (the sit-in inside Parliament) came at the suggestion of the revolutionaries (whom she did not name), to put pressure on electing a president for the country as soon as possible."
She added, "After 11 sessions to elect a president, we were leaving parliament with a very bad feeling, because the most dominant party in parliament is the power parties, and we are a minority. We are not able to do anything to move this deadlock by not electing the president."
Kaaqour pointed out that the sit-in inside parliament is "practically a response to what the constitution says, which calls for a permanent session of parliament until a new president is elected."
And she added, "But we were confronted with an escalation by Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, who did not call for a session as usual next Thursday, but called for a session of parliamentary committees."
According to Halima Kaakour, "The step aims to reach a solution to elect a president as soon as possible," pointing out that it is "a message to the street urging them to join the sit-in deputies to move towards electing a president."
She also announced that "the sit-in inside the council continues, because it has received a positive response from the various segments of the people and from all Lebanese regions."
And she considered that this step "encourages citizens to re-take their role by putting pressure on the political authority in the country to restore the regularity of the work of state institutions."
sit and blackout
Representative Paula Yacoubian called for a gathering in front of the House of Representatives on Friday afternoon, and published a video of her inside the parliament - in a tweet on her Twitter account - accompanying it by saying, "Deputies for change will remain in the parliament despite the blackout."
Since Thursday, the special police in the parliament have been preventing journalists and photographers from approaching Parliament, according to Anadolu Agency.
For his part, Representative Waddah Al-Sadiq published a video of him from inside the parliament, and attached it by saying, "Our presence inside the parliament is not a sit-in, our presence is the implementation of the constitution."
According to Article 49 of the constitution, the President of the Republic is elected in the first voting cycle by a two-thirds majority, i.e. 86 deputies, while the absolute majority (half + 1) is sufficient in the following sessions if a quorum is reached with the presence of 86 deputies out of 128.