Kataeb Declares Boycott of Extension Session, Accuses MPs of 'Exceeding Powers'

The Kataeb Party on Tuesday announced its boycott of a legislative session scheduled for Wednesday, in which the majority of MPs are likely to vote in favor of another extension of the parliament's term.

“Kataeb's political bureau stresses its rejection of extending the parliament's term and it has decided to boycott the parliamentary session that has this item on its agenda,” the politburo announced after an extraordinary meeting, in a statement recited by Labor Minister Sejaan Qazzi.

Extension would “prevent the emergence of authority from the people, who are the ones who should decide and who have the right to choose their representatives,” the party noted.

“Contrary to what is being claimed, the choice today is not between extension and vacuum, because we have been going through vacuum ever since the election of the president was impeded,” Kataeb pointed out.

It stressed that legislation in the absence of a president would be a constitutional violation.

“The real duty is electing a new president instead of deceiving the people,” the party said.

“Tomorrow's legislative session exceeds the parliament's jurisdiction, because it should only act as an electoral and not a legislative body until a new president is elected,” Kataeb explained, citing “articles 73, 74 and 75 of the Constitution.”

Last year, the parliament extended its term until November 2014 after the MPs failed to agree on a new law and claimed the security situation did not guarantee violence-free elections. A similar extension is set to take place on Wednesday to avoid a further vacuum.

The Baabda Palace has been vacant since the expiry of President Michel Suleiman's term in May. The rival MPs have failed to elect a new head of state over their differences on a compromise candidate.

The majority of the March 8 camp's lawmakers have boycotted the sessions, insisting that there should be consensus on a candidate first.

But their boycott has also been seen as a sign of their rejection of Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea's candidacy, which was officially endorsed by the March 14 forces before the coalition suggested agreeing on a compromise nominee.


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