Berri Refutes Claims Parliament Can't Legislate in Case of Vacuum

Speaker Nabih Berri has stressed that the authorities exercised by the parliament are legislative and are not linked to the sessions on the election of a president.

In remarks to several local dailies published on Friday, Berri said he can call for parliamentary sessions to approve draft-laws and for sessions to elect a new head of state.

His comment was aimed at refuting claims that parliament cannot legislate if there was a vacuum after March 25, when President Michel Suleiman's six-year term expires.

Berri accused some parties of paralyzing the role of the parliament and reviving the scenario that the legislature witnessed after the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Miqati in March 2013 when the March 14 alliance's lawmakers boycotted the sessions.

“But I continued to carry out my role,” the speaker said.

The parliament is scheduled to meet on Wednesday to discuss the public sector pay hike draft-law that was amended by a ministerial-legislative committee.

On Thursday, lawmakers are invited to a new round of presidential elections. They have been unable to elect a head of state over differences between the March 8 and 14 alliances.

March 14 is holding onto Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea, its only candidate for the country's top Christian post, while March 8 is asking for a consensual candidate.

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