BEIRUT: Citizens, NGOs and even political figures took to Twitter Thursday, protesting a possible parliamentary extension with the hashtag #NoToExtension, in Arabic.
“Elections are the ONLY right that our people can still exercise #NoToExtension,” former Telecoms Minister Nicolas Sehnaoui tweeted.
“We are living an extension, up for another extension, which would extend with it the denial of citizens' right to elect members of Parliament #NoToExtension,” Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil tweeted.
As well as topping the trending lists on Twitter, the hashtag made its way off the screen and on to papers, signs and even bodies.
Lebanese actress Nadine El Rassi uploaded a photo of her carrying a handwritten #NoToExtension sign.
Another user tweeted a photo with #NoToExtension scribbled all over her arms.
Local NGOs adopted the hashtag as a new platform to lobby for timely parliamentary elections and accountability in governance.
The Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections, a local NGO lobbying for reform in electoral practices said: “Prime Minister Tammam Salam, you are responsible #NoToExtension.”
The Civil Movement for Accountability raised the "NoToExtention" slogan near Parliament in Nijmeh Square.
The NGO also called on citizens to take to the streets and gather around Riad al-Solh Square in Downtown Beirut Thursday at 4 p.m. to protest against an extension of Parliament.
If Parliament extends its mandate, it will be the second time in two years. Originally set for June 2013, parliamentary elections were delayed for 17 months in May of last year. Parliament’s current term will expire in November.
However, there are doubts that elections will take place on time, especially as Parliament has failed on several occasions to elect a president due to lack of quorum.