Some 97 deputies out of the 128-seat parliament voted ‘yes’ on May 31 to extend the parliament’s term by seventeen months, in the first such move following the official end of the civil war in 1990, Tayyar.org reported. The widely-expected decision is the culmination of months of political bickering as Lebanon’s rival camps, the March 14 Alliance and the March 8 Alliance, failed to agree on a unifying electoral law. The extension of the parliament’s term was said to be crucial amid worsening security situation in the northern city of Tripoli and other Lebanese areas.
Christian leader Michel Aoun, who heads the Free Patriotic Movement, and President Michel Suleiman have vowed to challenge the parliament’s term-extension but the Constitutional Council will likely upset their aspirations given the vast and multi-ethnic parliamentary approval.
Lebanon’s parliamentary elections were supposed to take place on June 9-13 and the current parliament’s mandate was to expire on June 20. Lebanon’s rival political blocks have implicitly sought to delay any elections pending the result of the Syrian turmoil.
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