Berri to al-Rahi: We Will Adopt 1960 Law if You Agree

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi received on Tuesday ahead of his trip to the Vatican a letter from Speaker Nabih Berri explaining the reasons behind the parliament's tenure extension.

“I don't mind the adoption of the 1960 law if you agree,” Berri told al-Rahi, according to local newspapers published on Wednesday.

He pointed out that lawmakers would halt discussing the adoption of a new electoral law if al-Rahi favored holding elections according to the 1960 law that is based on the winner-takes-all system.

Concerning the failure of the Constitutional Council to meet to study petitions against the extension, Berri considered in his letter that the three members that boycotted the sessions “saved Lebanon and defended it.”

On Tuesday, the three council members boycotted for the third time the meetings of the 10-member body that should discuss a report drafted by Judge Issam Suleiman on the petitions filed by President Michel Suleiman and the Change and Reform bloc challenging the 17-month extension of the parliament.

The lack of quorum would make the 17-month extension law, which was approved by parliament end of May, valid after the end of parliament's mandate this Thursday.

The extension decision comes after rival blocs in the legislature failed to agree on a new vote law.

Ahead of his trip to the Vatican on Tuesday, al-Rahi demanded the formation of a neutral cabinet to bridge the gap between the March 8 and 14 alliances and achieve reconciliation.

During Sunday's sermon al-Rahi also slammed both alliances for “tarnishing Lebanon’s image” and paralyzing state institutions in addition to shoving the country in Syria's crisis.

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