Naharnet

Berri to Hold Talks with MPs to Discuss Presidential, Parliamentary Polls

Speaker Nabih Berri has said that he would hold consultations with the heads of blocs and independent MPs to find ways to resolve the presidential deadlock and prepare for the parliamentary elections.

“The parliamentary polls are approaching amid a dead end” on the presidential elections, Berri told his visitors.

“The situation seems to be very worrying, that's why I decided to hold consultations with the heads of blocs and independent MPs to find out how to deal with the presidential and parliamentary polls,” he said.

Berri's remarks were published in several local newspapers on Wednesday.

“We can't stand idle and we can't overstep the presidential elections,” he said as Lebanon remains without a head of state since the expiry of Michel Suleiman's six-year term on May 25.

Berri told his visitors that it was currently useless to hold national dialogue sessions. “I will replace dialogue with consultations because we are in a sensitive situation – the cabinet is not functioning well and there is no parliament and no president.”

He reiterated that his priority is to elect a new head of state and that he would not reject holding the general elections based on the 1960 law, which adopts the qada as an electoral district and is based on the winner-takes-all system.

Berri has previously stated that he would not object the 1960 law if the rival MPs failed again to agree on a new electoral draft-law.

Parliament's four-year mandate has been extended for 17 months till November this year over the differences between the rival blocs that prevented them from reaching an agreement on a new law.

Berri ruled out the possibility of striking a deal, saying there was no time for that.

Asked by his visitors about Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun's recent initiative to resolve the country's political crisis, the speaker said: “I don't think that Aoun said the initiative will be implemented now.”

Aoun, who is the head of the Change and Reform bloc, proposed direct elections on Monday, calling for a constitutional amendment that would allow the people to elect their head of state in two rounds.

The lawmaker also called for a deal on an electoral draft-law in which each sect would elect its own MPs to "create justice" for all confessions.

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