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Lebanon's parliamentary reboot puts rivals on the same side

As Lebanese lawmakers vote to extend their own mandate for a second time, opposition groups find themselves on the same side.
Police forces gather outside the parliament building in Downtown Beirut November 5, 2014. Lebanon's parliament extended its own mandate until 2017 on Wednesday, a move protesters camped outside and rights groups say denies citizens their democratic privileges. Lebanese politics has become deadlocked amid security concerns resulting from Syria's civil war next door. Parties supporting the extension bill say the security situation is too unstable to hold elections. This would be the second postponement of the
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Less than a week after the Oct. 26 Tunisian elections, which ignited hopes of the possibility of achieving democracy in the Arab world, the postponement of Lebanese elections emerged as a first democratic relapse. On Nov. 5, the parliament extended its own term, putting an end to the imminent democratic elections that were scheduled for Nov. 20, postponing them for two years and seven months. Ironically, the decision was passed under the umbrella of a law titled “the extension law,” which, in itself, constitutes a contradiction and violation of constitutional rules and democratic mechanisms.

It is not the first time this parliament has extended its term; it was previously done on May 31, 2013, under the pretext of not reaching consensus on the electoral law. At the time, elections were postponed for 17 months.

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