Independent MPs Melhem Khalaf and Najat Saliba have confirmed that they are holding a sit-in inside the Lebanese parliament and will not be leaving until a president is elected.
This is in protest to the failure to elect a president for the 11th time in almost 3 months. Lebanon has been without a president since Michel Aoun finished his term at the end of October 2022.
In a press conference from inside the parliament, Khalaf said that the parliament should be holding nonstop sessions until the president is elected.
He said that this is the last result as they cannot allow the obstructionist policy to be implemented in Lebanon. “For 7 months, they disrupted democracy and put Lebanon in danger of losing this democracy, and the Parliament is responsible for not electing a president.”
He went on to say “our people are asking us for bread, for water, for electricity, and we are standing helplessly as the lira has hit LL 50,000 against the dollar, amidst useless parliamentary sessions that are not electing a president.”
MP Saliba said “the people cannot take this anymore. All the countries in the world called us to form a government and a state so they can help us. We are asking MPs to come to parliament to vote for a president. This is their duty.”
MP Khalaf later said that he and MP Saliba decided to break the stalemate and to “properly apply the constitution as the sessions cannot be closed.”
Kataeb MP Sami Gemayel called the decision to sit in “patriotic par excellence” and will be keeping track of it. He said, “unfortunately, it was not coordinated with us, but we could join him at any time.”
MP Paula Yacoubian expressed her support for the sit-in as well.