Berri Shies Away from Responding to March 14 Calls on Changing Quorumإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Speaker Nabih Berri has described Lebanon as a democracy but did not elaborate on calls made by March 14 MPs to reduce the quorum required to hold the presidential elections.
Berri said in remarks published in several local dailies on Wednesday that Lebanon is a “democratic state.”
However, he stopped short of announcing his support for a statement made by March 14 MPs following a visit to Bkirki that the quorum of parliamentary sessions aimed at electing a president should be reduced from two-thirds to half plus one.
Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi encouraged the lawmakers to discuss the issue with the speaker. But Berri said: “No comment.”
Later Wednesday, MPs quoted the speaker as saying as saying that the two-thirds majority had always been adopted during the election of a president. He did not elaborate.
In their statement, the March 14 lawmakers stated that they consider parliament in a constant state of session as stipulated by the constitution.
“We will exert efforts to ensure that MPs are present at the parliament on a daily basis to elect a president,” they said.
Asked about the issue, Berri said: “I would like to remind everyone that since March 24, 2014, the parliament is in session to elect a president.”
Lebanon has been suffering from a presidential vacuum since that date, the day the constitutional deadline began for the election of a head of state.
President Michel Suleiman's six-year term ended on May 25 last year, the longest time the post has been vacant since the devastating civil war ended in 1990.
The next session is set for June 3. But it is likely to meet the fate of around 23 other sessions during which the majority of the March 8 alliance's MPs boycotted the polls.
Berri reiterated that he is ready to call for a session anytime before June 3 if the rival parties agreed on a candidate.