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Lebanon’s Political Crisis Set to Worsen

With Lebanon’s Constitutional Council set to end this week, and as parliament has extended its own mandate, some fear the country’s political crisis is about to get worse.
Protesters carry mock coffins draped with Lebanon's national flags, representing the parliament, as they express their refusal of the extension of parliamentary terms near the parliament in Beirut May 31, 2013. Lebanese lawmakers agreed on Friday to postpone a June parliamentary election until late next year due to instability in neighbouring Syria and political deadlock at home.  Words on the banner read, "You failed in everything. You failed, you failed, you failed... Go home!"   REUTERS/Sharif Karim (LEB
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The chronic and persistent Lebanese crisis will witness two key events this week. On June 18, the Constitutional Council — which is authorized to consider appeals resulting from parliamentary or presidential elections, and to examine whether the laws passed by parliament conform with the Lebanese Constitution — will effectively cease to exist. On June 20, the legal term of parliament will expire. The two events have a direct and organic relationship.

As previously noted by Al-Monitor, it has become evident that the Lebanese authorities and the entire political class in Lebanon have found it impossible to agree on a new election law to conduct the next parliamentary election. Due to this failure, and in order to avoid creating a parliamentary vacuum, a parliamentary majority consisting of 97 out of 128 deputies approved a law issued on May 31 extending the term of the current parliament until Nov. 20, 2014. However, two parties objected to the extension and used their constitutional right to challenge the law in question: President Michel Suleiman, who is constitutionally authorized to exercise this right, and Gen. Michel Aoun, the most influential Christian leader, who filed a similar challenge based on a constitutional provision that grants the same right to at least 10 deputies.

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