Charbel Extends Deadline for Parliament Nominations to May 27

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Caretaker Interior Minister Marwan Charbel announced on Monday the extension of the deadline for submitting candidacies to the parliamentary elections to May 27, after President Michel Suleiman had signed in April a draft law to suspend the nominations.

Charbel had stated in an interview to As Safir newspaper published on Monday that if the rival MPs did not reach consensus over an electoral law, "they wouldn't have any other choice but to resort to the 1960 law."

He stressed: “I won't be at any moment responsible for the vacuum in the legislative branch if consensus failed.”

Suleiman had signed in April a draft law approved by the parliament suspending the deadline for submitting nominations for the parliamentary elections until May 19.

Suleiman explained on Twitter that he will sign the law to "allow the approval of a modern electoral law based on proportional representation."

"Returning the law to parliament will lead to the uncontested win of the candidates (who have already submitted their requests) given the fact that the deadline is approaching and we might not be able to approve a new law," Suleiman explained.

Meanwhile, the National Struggle Front along with several other lawmakers sought to challenge the parliament’s endorsement to suspend the deadlines set by the 1960 vote law, and the Progressive Socialist Party file an appeal against it to the Constitutional Council.

The Council, however, turned down PSP's appeal.

It said the law did not violate Article 42 of the Constitution, which stipulates that “general elections for the renewal of the Chamber shall take place within a sixty day period preceeding the expiration of its mandate."

In its eighth round of talks, the parliamentary electoral subcommittee failed again on Monday to reach an agreement over a new electoral law as Speaker Nabih Berri did not set a date for a new session.

This failure has raised fears that of a political vacuum in Lebanon or that the parliamentary elections will be held according to the 1960 law or that the term of the current parliament will be extended.

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