Berri to Attend Sisi Inauguration as Salam Travels on Private Visit

Speaker Nabih Berri will lead a Lebanese delegation to participate in the inauguration of the new Egyptian president while Prime Minister Tammam Salam apologized for not being able to attend the swearing-in of president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Sunday.

Al-Liwaa newspaper reported on Saturday that Berri is expected to be accompanied by deputy PM Samir Moqbel.

A former general, Sisi won nearly 97 percent of the vote in last week's polls, nearly a year after he toppled Egypt's first freely elected leader, Islamist Mohamed Morsi.

According to al-Joumhouria newspaper, premier Salam left Beirut on a private visit on Friday accompanied by his wife Lama.

The daily reported that the PM will return to Lebanon on Monday ahead of two parliamentary sessions set to be held on that same day to elect a new president and on Tuesday to discuss the new pay hike.

Lebanon has been plunged into a leadership vacuum after Michel Suleiman's presidential term ended on May 25 with rival political blocs still divided over a new leader.

Over the past two months the parliament convened five times to try to elect a successor to Suleiman but failed during the last four sessions due to a lack of quorum.

The presidential vacuum raised fears that it would affect Lebanon's power-sharing agreement under which the president should be a Maronite, the premier a Sunni and the speaker a Shiite.

Meanwhile, the differences on the pay raise have led to wide range protests and strikes by public sector employees and teachers who are holding onto a 121 percent increase in their salaries.

But the ministerial-parliamentary committee has proposed to reduce the total funding from LL2.8 trillion ($1.9 billion) to LL1.8 trillion ($1.2 billion).



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