Berri Warns of De Facto Cabinet, Aims at Ending Dispute over Electoral Law

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Speaker Nabih Berri warned on Monday of the announcement of a de facto government ahead of the scheduled parliamentary session, pointing out that he aims at reaching consensus with the different parliamentary blocs and ending confrontation over the new electoral law.

“The announcement of a de facto cabinet ahead of Wednesday's parliamentary session will have negative repercussions on it and will end the possibility of reaching consensus over a new electoral law,” Berri said in comments published in As Safir newspaper.

He noted that such an endeavor will topple any possible “agreement,” and would be considered a “provocative” act.

Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam's efforts to form a new government are ongoing as he has maintained his consultations with President Michel Suleiman and Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat to that end.

“The protocol and constitutional norms require that I head to the Baabda Palace to be informed about the cabinet formation... If it was adequate I voice agreement but if it was disappointing I will give the appropriate advice and will let the parliament play its role in the matter,” Berri stated.

The speaker reiterated his criticism of the “centrists” in comments published in al-Joumhouria newspaper.

But Berri praised Jumblat's recent visit to Saudi Arabia, expressing hope that it would end any “dramatic acts.”

“Jumblat will not turn against his ties with me and vice versa,” he noted.

Jumblat returned to Beirut Sunday after meeting with al-Mustaqbal movement chief ex-PM Saad Hariri and Saudi officials in Jeddah.

Caretaker Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour, who accompanied Jumblat on his trip, said in a statement that the PSP chief will continue his contacts with Suleiman, Salam, Speaker Nabih Berri and the political forces concerned “in a bid to reach consensus over the cabinet formula proposed by PM-designate Salam, which we hope all parties would accept given its balance and accuracy.”

The statement seemed to be hinting that Jumblat had given his consent to the alleged de facto government despite his previous rejections of participating in a government in which not all political parties are represented.

Concerning Wednesday's assembly meeting set to adopt a new electoral law, the AMAL movement leader said that he will exert efforts to press lawmakers to reach common ground over the new electoral law or the Orthodox Gathering proposal will be put up for a vote.

“The Orthodox draft-law will be the only proposal put up for a vote,” Berri said.

The plan, which considers Lebanon a single district and allows each sect to vote for its own MPs under a proportional representation system, has been approved by the joint parliamentary committees despite the rejection of Suleiman, caretaker Premier Najib Miqati, the Mustaqbal bloc, the National Struggle Front of MP Jumblat and the March 14 alliance's independent Christian lawmakers.

“Whoever challenges me will lose and those who agree with me will win,” the speaker added.

The political parties' failure to agree on a new vote law is threatening to postpone the elections that are scheduled for June 16.

Comments 3
Missing helicopter 13 May 2013, 08:39

“Whoever challenges me will lose and those who agree with me will win,” the speaker added............... he is outdoing Hezb with such a statemnt

Thumb geha 13 May 2013, 09:06

while m8 formed their one sided cabinet with mikati, they are ready to start a civil war if m14 selects a centrist cabinet!
how maddening is this?
they show us clearly who is clinging to power while accusing others of doing so :)
why don't they accept to participate in this cabinet but without the disabling third?
why do they insist to enforce their will on all Lebanese?
is it because they are thugs and power usurpators?

Missing helicopter 13 May 2013, 15:24

Common F.T., you are outdoing both Berri and Nasrallah with your statement now, don't you think so?