Constitutional Council to Appoint Rapporteur on Challenge of Poll Deadline Suspension

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The constitutional council is set to meet on Monday to appoint a rapporteur to draft a report on a challenge submitted by MP Walid Jumblat's National Struggle Front bloc over the suspension of the electoral deadlines set by the 1960 law.

The head of the 10-member council, Dr. Issam Suleiman, told An Nahar newspaper that the rapporteur has 10 days to submit his report.

President Michel Suleiman signed earlier this month the draft-law suspending the deadline for submitting nominations for the polls until May 19.

The draft-law was referred to the president after it was approved by parliament despite the boycott of the National Struggle Front.

It calls for setting the deadline for submitting candidacies to three weeks before the elections date. It also allows candidates who seek to withdraw their nominations to do so 15 days before the polls.

The council's president told An Nahar that the 10-member body will also meet in the next few days to decide on whether to suspend the decision made by the parliament pending a final verdict or keep the draft-law active.

The appeal on the suspension of candidacies was submitted on Friday by the eight-member National Struggle Front, Deputy Speaker Farid Makari and lawmakers Ahmed Karami and Marwan Hamadeh.

Suleiman said that the rapporteur will draft his report in full confidentiality and that the meetings that the council will hold are also private in accordance to the law that bans any statements to the press pending a final and clear decision on the appeal.

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