Daily Israel Report

Lebanese MPs Pelted with Tomatoes After Elections Delayed

Activists threw tomatoes at Lebanese members of parliament after they extended the parliament’s mandate by 17 months.
By Elad Benari, Canada
First Publish: 6/1/2013, 1:46 AM

A campsite in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley
A campsite in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley
AFP/File

Activists threw tomatoes at Lebanese members of parliament on Friday, after they failed to adopt a new electoral law and extended the parliament’s mandate by 17 months, Al Arabiya reports.

The motion for a 17-month extension, submitted by independent Christian MP Nicolas Fattouche, was passed unanimously by 98 members of the 128-seat house who attended, with rival camps blaming each other for the delay.

“The term of the mandate of the legislature will be modified on an exceptional basis to end on November 20, 2014,” rather than June 20 as scheduled, AFP quoted the motion as saying.

The motion to extend the normal four-year term between elections was due to “the security situation in several Lebanese regions that gives rise to political escalation and division which often take on confessional forms.”

“Security and political tensions prevent the holding of an election campaign,” it said.

Fuad Siniora, the opposition head in parliament, explained, “We were forced to vote on this bad project to avoid a vacuum and after unrest in several regions and the serious negative development” of Hizbullah’s involvement in the Syria conflict.

Hizbullah has thrown its fighters into battle alongside Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s forces, while recent clashes between pro- and anti-Assad camps in Lebanon’s northern city of Tripoli killed more than 30 people.

At least 75 Hizbullah members have already been killed fighting alongside Assad’s soldiers, and Hizbullah head Hassan Nasrallah has vowed to continue the group’s support for Assad.

Meanwhile, the fighting in Syria has continued to spill into Lebanon. On Monday, cross-border mortar shells from Syria killed one person and wounded another near the eastern Lebanese town of Hermel.

Outside the parliament building, dozens of demonstrators hurled tomatoes at a banner bearing a picture of the deputies and marked, “You have failed. Go home.”

The delay follows a months-long deadlock over a new electoral law and with Prime Minister Tamam Salam, who was named on April 6, still unable to form a new government because of divisions over Syria, reported Al Arabiya.

Lebanon's President Michel Sleiman cautioned Hizbullah last week over its fighting alongside regime troops in neighboring Syria.

“The resistance is more noble and more important than anything, and should not get bogged down in the sands of dissension, whether in Syria or Lebanon,” he said in a statement, referring to Hizbullah’s strong stance against Israel.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)