Lebanon parliament confirms 27 March legislative elections

Lebanon parliament confirms 27 March elections, FPM withdraws over 'major constitutional violation'
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The vote was passed on Thursday by 77 MPs, though a second vote on votes for Lebanese abroad prompted concern among some lawmakers.
Lebanon's parliament had been told to reconsider the election date by the president [Amer Ghazzal/Getty]

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

The body originally voted on 19 October 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.

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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 27 March 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.