Naharnet

Berri, Jumblat Agree to Extend Parliament's Term amid Presidential Vacuum

Speaker Nabih Berri agreed with Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat that parliamentary elections shouldn't be staged ahead of the election of a new president.

According to al-Akhbar newspaper published on Saturday, the two officials reject parliamentary elections amid the ongoing situation in the country.

Berri and Jumblat are reportedly preparing the extension of the parliament's term for two years and a half or even three years.

In May 2013, the parliament voted to extend its own mandate for 17 months after the rival political parties failed to reach a new electoral law.

Around 100 MPs from all blocs, except the Change and Reform bloc, voted to extend parliament's term until November 20, 2014.

The decision marked the first time that parliament has had to extend its term since the country's own 15-year civil war ended in 1990 and underlines the growing turmoil in Lebanon spilling over from the conflict raging in the neighboring country.

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 eight times to try to elect a successor to Suleiman but failed during the last four sessions due to a lack of quorum.

H.K.

D.A.


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