Call for protests as MPs expected to extend own term

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s parliament is expected to vote on Thursday to extend its own term until 2018 without an election, officials said, as activists called for protests to prevent what they said would be a blow to democracy.
Parliament has already extended its mandate twice because lawmakers were unable to agree on an election law. It last did this in 2014, citing security concerns linked to the civil war in neighbouring Syria.
“Short of any surprises, the extension will take place so that the country does not face a political vacuum,” said a Lebanese official.
“We are urging Lebanese to hold protests and prevent MPs from meeting,” said prominent activist Marwan Maalouf.
“This is unconstitutional.” Critics accuse Lebanese politicians of using regional upheaval as an excuse to dodge elections. “This is will be the third time they extend in four years,” said activist Asaad Thebien. “This doesn’t happen in any country in the world.”
In October of 2016, parliament elected former army commander Michel Aoun as president, ending a 29-month vacuum in a political deal. — Reuters

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