Miqati, al-Rahi 'Agree' on 'Important Issues' amid Elections Tumult

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Caretaker Premier Najib Miqati on Monday followed the lead of Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea and Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun in visiting Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi in Bkirki.

Voice of Lebanon radio (100.5) quoted al-Rahi as saying after the meeting that he “agreed” with Miqati on “important issues.”

While Miqati did not reveal the details of his talks, he told reporters that he visited Bkirki to congratulate al-Rahi on his safe return from a long trip abroad and wished him luck on his visit to Poland on Tuesday.

The caretaker premier's visit to the seat of the Maronite church came after Geagea and Aoun held separate talks with al-Rahi over the weekend amid a row on the extension of parliament's mandate after the failure of the rival parties to agree on a new law that would govern the June parliamentary elections, and the rejection of the 1960 vote law.

Bkirki sources told MTV and LBCI that al-Rahi and Miqati agreed to a short-term technical extension to pave way for the agreement on a new law.

Miqati's caretaker cabinet is scheduled to meet under President Michel Suleiman at Baabda Palace on Monday to discuss the formation of an authority that would supervise the elections and endorse the financial allocations necessary for the interior ministry to hold the polls.

Al-Joumhouria daily quoted sources close to Miqati as saying that the caretaker prime minister has been clear in announcing that the government would take the necessary steps stipulated by the 1960 law.

The formation of the authority and providing the necessary funds are aimed at warding off any future criticism that the cabinet hasn't done enough, the sources said.

Miqati has so far refrained from submitting his candidacy for a seat in parliament to represent his hometown of Tripoli in the North.

The sources said he would make up his mind on Monday night, the deadline for the announcement of nominations.

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