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Lebanon crisis

Lebanon’s deputy parliament speaker calls on army to take over country

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The number two official in Lebanon’s parliament Monday called on the Lebanese army to take over all state institutions and to dissolve the country’s constitution.

“All Lebanese agree on the [transparency] of the Lebanese army … and I call on it to take the place of the president, parliament speaker and prime minister and the entire political class,” Elie Ferzli said in an interview with a Lebanese website.

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Ferzli said the army should then dissolve the constitution and run the country “for a number of years.” After this unspecified period, the politician said Lebanon would have drafted a new political order.

Lebanon is currently experiencing an unprecedented economic and financial crisis. Nationwide anti-government protests rocked the nation in late 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic, and the Aug. 4 Beirut blast further exacerbated the problems at home.

Violence broke out on several occasions, especially when supporters of the Iran-backed Hezbollah and its allies in the Amal Movement attacked protesters.

The Lebanese pound has reached an all-time low, and the World Bank estimates that close to 50 percent of the population will reach a level of poverty this year.

On Monday, Ferzli warned that the situation could further worsen. “I am scared of the civil war, which I previously lived in,” he said, referring to the 1975-90 war that left over 100,000 people dead.

“If it weren’t for the coronavirus and grants from [foreign] embassies, half of the Lebanese population would have emigrated,” he said.

Read more: Deteriorating Lebanon concerns US officials after army warns of ‘social explosion’