After two Lebanese politicians spent the night inside the parliament building to protest the failure of the deputies to elect a new president for the eleventh time.
The term of the Lebanese president ended on October 31, and a vote on his replacement should have taken place before his departure.
“Nobody tried to push us away,” said Najat Saliba. On the contrary, the Parliament staff were very helpful and opened meeting rooms for us in addition to the General Assembly Hall.”
“We spent the night without electricity, because it goes out every day at 14:30 (12:30 GMT). But we received a lot of food from the different people and other MPs who visited us,” she added.
Saliba and Khalaf, both from the Forces for Change bloc that entered Parliament in the recent elections, say that their sit-in will continue until an agreement is finally reached on a new president. They want their fellow deputies to come and meet them to discuss potential candidates.
This is our duty,” Saliba continued. “Nothing in the constitution works. Lebanon’s political system is in a state of stalemate and the walls between parties are getting thicker. We have no choice but to sit down and talk to destroy these walls that keep warlords in power.”
So far, each of the 11 electoral sessions to appoint a successor to former President Michel Aoun has ended in failure.
In the last parliamentary session, the most popular candidate, Michel Moawad, received only 34 votes, far short of the 86 votes needed to advance to a second round. Thirty-seven representatives submitted blank ballot papers and several representatives used their ballot papers to protest, with one even casting his vote for US Senator Bernie Sanders.
The main parties failed to agree on a new coalition, so the previous government continued its duties until a solution was reached. But without an official mandate, the government will not be able to move forward in dealing with the stifling economic crisis in Lebanon.
With MPs once again failing to break the presidential impasse, the Lebanese currency plunged to a new record low. Fifty thousand Lebanese pounds are now worth only one dollar in the country’s parallel market or the black market.