Bassil: Extension an Attack on Democracy, People and We’ll Boycott Session

Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil lashed out Tuesday at political efforts aimed at extending parliament’s term, describing extension as “an assassination of political life and an attack on all Lebanese people” and vowing to confront it through all legitimate means.

“We call on all political forces to refrain from extension and the right choice is approving an electoral law,” said Bassil after the weekly meeting of the Change and Reform bloc in Rabieh.

“When Hizbullah fights Israel in the South, we stand behind it regardless of the cost, and when Rafik Hariri was assassinated, we stood by al-Mustaqbal Movement regardless of the cost, and we call on al-Mustaqbal Movement and Hizbullah not to approve extension,” Bassil added.

“There is no vacuum in parliament and there are a hundred ways to prevent vacuum… We do not make deals targeted against the country’s main components and we have presented one suggestion after another,” Bassil went on to say, reminding that the FPM has proposed a lot of electoral law formats.

He promised the Lebanese people to “reach an electoral law, the same as we promised that we would reach the election of a president.”

“We will confront extension through boycotting the extension session and through street protests and the government,” Bassil vowed.

“We extend our hand to everyone in order to approve an electoral law and no one can pressure us into relinquishing people’s rights. We have agreed to all formats such as proportional representation, the hybrid system and other formats,” the FPM chief added.

“When we give up our principles to accept extension, we would lose ourselves, and accordingly our hand is extended, our brain is working all the time, our heart is open and we are ready to vote with our feet,” Bassil warned.

Earlier in the day, the Parliament’s Bureau called for a Thursday legislative session that has the extension of the legislature’s term on its agenda.

A ministerial panel tasked with mulling a new electoral law meanwhile held its first meeting on Thursday afternoon.

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