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Lebanon: Politicians hold talks amid protests

10th Sep 2015
Lebanon: Politicians hold talks amid protests
BEIRUT, (AA): Lebanese politicians met in parliament on Wednesday to discuss a number of urgent issues, including the country’s ongoing sanitation crisis.

As politicians drove to the assembly, demonstrators pelted their cars with eggs and tomatoes.

Both the March 14 Alliance, which supports the opposition in next-door Syria, and the March 8 Alliance, which supports the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, attended Wednesday’s session.

Samir Geagea, for his part, president of the Lebanese Forces party, boycotted the meeting.

Lebanon has been shaken by protest since Aug. 22 due to a months-long sanitation crisis.

Protesters demand the resignation of Environment Minister Mohamed Machnouk – who, they say, has mismanaged the crisis – and Interior Minister Nohad Machnouk for using what they say is unnecessary force against demonstrators.

Protesters also demand an end to the years-long political deadlock – partially a result of the ongoing war in Syria – that has paralyzed governance in the country.

Last week, parliament failed – for the 28th time – to elect the country’s new president as a result of the ongong political deadlock.

Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri therefore postponed the vote to Sept. 30, when MPs will try once again – for the 29th time – to elect a new head of state.

Former President Michel Suleiman’s term ended in May of last year. Since then, Lebanon’s 128-seat parliament has been unable to muster the MPs necessary to elect a new president.

Since April of last year, representatives from both Hezbollah and Michel Aoun’s “Change and Reform” bloc have boycotted successive assembly sessions, thus ensuring quorum is not reached.

According to Lebanon’s constitution, one third of the assembly – 86 MPs – must be present in order to hold a first-round vote.

Author: Mahmoud Barakat
[Photo: Demonstrators throw plastic bottles to a member of parliament as they gathered in front of the parliament building to protest the National Consensus Meeting held in Beirut, Lebanon on September 9, 2015. Photographer: Ratib Al Safadi/Anadolu Agency]

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