Lebanese MPs sleep in parliament to press for end to impasse

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Two independent Lebanese lawmakers have spent the night in parliament to press for the election of a new president, as factional deadlock leaves the country largely leaderless amid a deepening economic crisis.

“We slept here, and we hope that today will bring new hope to Lebanon,” said lawmaker Najat Saliba in a video posted on social media on Friday.

Fellow MP Melhem Khalaf said it was urgent to elect a president “who can save Lebanon”, in an online message posted the night before.

Lebanon has been without a head of state since Michel Aoun left office at the end of October, while the government is operating in a caretaker capacity.

The Lebanese pound plunged to a new low against the US dollar this week as parliament failed for an 11th time to agree on a new president, amid squabbling between supporters and opponents of powerful militant group Hezbollah.

Khalaf said in his message the sit-in aimed to push parliament to hold “continuous sessions” to elect a new head of state.

“We will not leave,” the former Beirut Bar As-sociation chief had told reporters on Thursday.—AFP