Opposition Studies Proposal by Berri for March 14 MPs to Stay at Hotel Near Parliament

Speaker Nabih Berri has suggested that March 14 opposition lawmakers, many of whom have received death threats, reside at a hotel near parliament to attend the meetings of a parliamentary subcommittee after they said they were fearing for their lives.

March 14 MP Marwan Hamadeh, who held a telephone conversation with Berri, told As Safir daily published on Wednesday that the speaker suggested that the lawmakers reside at the hotel and hold the meetings in parliament after guaranteeing enough security protection to them.

Hamadeh said the opposition decided to study Berri's proposal.

“We insist on holding the parliamentary elections on time and on approving a new electoral draft-law,” he told As Safir.

According to An Nahar newspaper, a similar phone conversation was made between Berri and opposition MP Butros Harb to discuss the arrangements for reviving the work of the subcommittee tasked with reviewing the electoral system, and the size and number of districts.

Earlier in the month, the March 14 coalition said it made an exception by ending its boycott of the subcommittee but insisted on holding the meetings at the houses of opposition MPs, who have confined themselves to their homes and offices following death threats.

But their proposal reached a dead end when several officials from the March 8 majority coalition rejected it.

Following a meeting held between March 14 alliance leaders on Tuesday night, a high-ranking source told An Nahar that the opposition will continue to coordinate with Berri on ways to approve a new electoral law “despite attempts by some (parties) to annul the elections over fears from the results.”

The coalition's demands to change the government haven't changed, the source said, adding March 14 “insists on holding the elections on their constitutional time along with the discussion of a new electoral law.”

Lebanon plunged in a political crisis following the Oct. 19 assassination of Internal Security Forces Intelligence Bureau chief Wissam al-Hasan when March 14 boycotted the government and all parliamentary activity linked to it.

It also called for the cabinet's resignation and said only a salvation government could oversee the 2013 parliamentary polls.

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