Berri to Suleiman: No Change in Power-Sharing Under Any Circumstance

Speaker Nabih Berri has stressed that power-sharing between Christians and Muslims in Lebanon would not change under any circumstance, An Nahar daily reported on Tuesday.

“There is no going back from the concept of power-sharing,” Berri reportedly said during the national dialogue session in response to a recent warning made by President Michel Suleiman.

Suleiman said during a speech on Sunday that “the procrastination in the election of a new president poses a threat to the Lebanese entity and opens the door for dangerous scenarios.”

“Don't drag the country and its citizens into a constituent assembly that would topple the Taef Accord and equal power-sharing,” Suleiman told the Lebanese.

But Berri, a Shiite Muslim, was quick to respond to Suleiman during Monday's all-party talks, saying he was speaking on behalf of Shiites, Sunnis and Druze.

The speaker denied rumors that a senate cannot be formed before the election of a non-sectarian national assembly.

“On the contrary, there is a possibility to form this senate in accordance with the Orthodox Gathering electoral draft-law in parallel with the election of a parliament based on proportional representation and the consideration of Lebanon a single district,” he said.

Differences between the March 8 and 14 alliances have so far prevented the election of a new president, leading to fears of vacuum in the country's top Christian post.

Suleiman will leave Baabda Palace on May 25.

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