Lebanese parliament confirms holding parliamentary elections on March 27

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Lebanese parliament confirms holding parliamentary elections on March 27
© Reuters/AZIZ TAHER Gebran Bassil, leader of Lebanon’s biggest Christian bloc, the Free Patriotic Movement, gestures as he speaks after he withdrew from a parliamentary session at UNESCO Palace in Beirut

BEIRUT (Reuters) – The Lebanese parliament voted on Thursday to hold legislative elections on March 27, confirming an earlier vote last week that had been challenged by President Michel Aoun.

The body originally voted on Oct. 19 to hold the election at that time but President Aoun sent the law back for reconsideration on Friday.

The vote passed on Thursday by 77 MPs but some, including members of Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), who have been against the earlier date, expressed concern around whether quorum was achieved for a second vote regarding the voting of Lebanese living abroad

The elections were originally expected in May.

Gebran Bassil, FPM leader and son-in-law of Aoun, withdrew alongside his alliance from the session on the back of the dispute, ending the session for the day.

“We withdrew from the session because of a major constitutional violation,” he said after leaving.

The March 27 election date would give Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s government only a few months to try to secure an IMF recovery plan amid a deepening economic meltdown.

(Reporting by Timour Azhari and Alaa Kanaan; Writing by Yasmin Hussein and Maha El Dahan; Editing by Toby Chopra and Raissa Kasolowsky)

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