Berri Backs Extension of Officials' Terms if No Deal on Appointments

Speaker Nabih Berri reiterated that he backed the appointment of top security and military officials but would not reject the extension of their terms if the government failed to reach an agreement on the controversial issue.

“I am with the appointments … but if there were no consensus, then I would back the continued functioning of the institutions, meaning extension,” Berri, whose remarks were published in al-Joumhouria daily on Wednesday, told his visitors in Ain el-Tineh.

“We resort to extension if we can't fill any administrative post,” said Berri. “This is necessary to ensure the continuation of the work of institutions.”

The speaker also expressed hope that the parliament would resume its functions, either by opening an extraordinary legislative session, which is awaiting the needed signatures of cabinet ministers, or by holding an ordinary session in October.

Parliament convenes twice a year in two ordinary sessions -- the first starts mid-march until the end of May and the second from the middle of October through the end of December.

Berri said that cabinet ministers and lawmakers should put their differences aside and approve important decisions and draft-laws if they are keen on the nation's interest.

“We should not hold onto paralysis,” he added.

The country has been suffering from a political crisis that erupted following the end of the tenure of President Michel Suleiman in May last year.

The vacuum at Baabda Palace caused major differences among cabinet ministers, leading to paralysis, combined with the failure of lawmakers to attend parliamentary sessions as a result of different demands.

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