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

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’

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