Berri Hints Early Electoral Battle Aimed at Preventing the Cabinet to Workإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Speaker Nabih Berri has hinted that some Lebanese political parties have launched their electoral campaigns a year before the scheduled polls to prevent the government from functioning.
“It would be better to close the file of the elections now and take care of the people’s needs,” As Safir daily quoted Berri as telling his visitors.
“Why have they launched the electoral battle a year before” the polls?, Berri wondered. “Are there some (people) who don’t want the government to function?”
On the latest meeting held between Minister Ali Hassan Khalil and the Hizbullah leader’s political aide, Hussein Khalil, on one side and Progressive Socialist Party chief Walid Jumblat on the other, Berri said: “Several issues were discussed with understanding except for proportionality which we already knew that Jumblat rejected.”
Berri has launched an initiative to adopt an electoral draft-law based on proportional representation and on larger or a single district. He dispatched the two men to the PSP chief in an effort to convince him that proportionality does not target him and is not intended to marginalize him as he claims.
“Our hope to change him did not have a one in a thousand chance,” the speaker was quoted as saying.
But he praised Jumblat for being “honest” in expressing his viewpoints unlike other politicians who at first announced support for proportionality and then rejected it.
Berri also discussed with his visitors the failure to approve a $5.9 billion extra-budgetary spending bill over differences between the March 8 majority and the March 14 opposition, the newspaper said.
Last week, the cabinet called for redrafting the 2011 bill by taking into consideration the remarks of the parliamentary finance and budget committee and referring it back to parliament for adoption.
But Berri expressed surprise to the move, saying the bill is already present on the agenda of the parliament along with the amendments suggested by the committee.
Parliament failed to approve the bill after the March 14 MPs walked out of the assembly over their call to find a comprehensive solution to the spending made by the governments of ex-Premiers Fouad Saniora and Saad Hariri.
He hoped that the opposition lawmakers would this time guarantee a quorum.
On the Lebanese navy’s interception of a ship loaded with weapons in Lebanon’s territorial waters, Berri told his visitors that they should wait for the results of the probe before issuing any verdicts as to where the arms were heading.
“What we are sure of however is that this vessel wasn’t transporting weapons to angels,” he said amid reports that they were destined to Syrian rebels fighting the regime of President Bashar Assad.