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Parliament Session Postponed amid Lebanon Protests

Parliament Session Postponed amid Lebanon Protests

Tuesday, 12 November, 2019 - 07:45
Speaker Nabih Berri speaks during a parliamentary session in May 2018. (NNA)
Beirut - Youssef Diab
A parliamentary session, which was set to take place this Tuesday, has turned into an issue of controversy between the political forces and fueled calls for a general strike by the demonstrators.

Objectors said that no legislations should be issued under a resigned government, adding that the efforts should be focused on the formation of a new cabinet.

Amid these protests, parliament Speaker Nabih Berri announced, at noon on Monday, the postponement of the session until next Tuesday, with the same agenda.

In a rare appearance following his parliamentary bloc meeting, he said: “The campaign that was launched is aimed at keeping the political vacuum in place.”

He called for the formation of a government including protesters and said that the same agenda would be used when lawmakers meet on November 19.

The agenda of the legislative session includes proposals for laws, most notably the general amnesty, the establishment of a special court for financial crimes, the establishment of a court to fight corruption, lifting immunity of employees, the right to access information, amendment of the Social Security Law, and the establishment of a social protection system.

Positions on parliament’s ability to issue legislation varied in light of the government vacuum and at the popular uprising insisting on changing the entire political class.

A source in the Liberation and Development bloc, headed by Berri, told Asharq Al-Awsat that parliament had the right to issue legislation wherever needed, especially as it was in a regular session.

He noted that the campaign targeted primarily the general amnesty law, “which has become a humanitarian demand for all Lebanese, and this proposal is the same as the draft amnesty law completed by the ministerial committee headed by Prime Minister Saad Hariri.”

Political forces and parliamentary blocs, including the Lebanese Forces, the Kataeb party and even some forces in the March 8, have raised questions about the timing of the session.

Kataeb bloc MP Elias Hankash said in a statement to Asharq Al-Awsat that some people insisted on “proceeding with the legislative sessions, in parallel with the continuation of the popular revolution.”

He stressed that items on the agenda of the meeting “do not meet the demands of the people.”

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