Berri Calls Parliament Bureau to Session on Wednesday

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Speaker Nabih Berri called on Tuesday parliament's bureau to convene on Wednesday morning.

The session will take place at 11:30 a.m.

He is likely to call for a parliamentary session on Thursday to vote on an 18-month extension of the legislature's mandate despite the rejection of President Michel Suleiman.

An Nahar daily quoted informed sources as saying on Tuesday that a formula to extend the parliament's four-year term for 18 months began garnering the majority's support.

It said al-Mustaqbal movement gave its initial consent on condition that it receives answers to some of its questions regarding the extension.

Amal movement and Hizbullah have also tried to convince Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun, who later on Tuesday announced his rejection of the extension.

Al-Mustaqbal bloc chief Fouad Saniora told As Safir newspaper that his bloc was holding consultations with Berri and would wait for the results of the negotiations with Aoun.

Asked whether al-Mustaqbal backed a six-month extension or more, Saniora said: “These are details.”

The FPM leader rejected to attend any parliamentary session that would take such a move, reiterating his demand for holding a general assembly to vote on the so-called Orthodox Gathering proposal or the hybrid vote law.

The support for the extension of the legislature's term that expires on June 20 began growing after the rival parties failed to agree on a new electoral law despite the adoption of the Orthodox plan by the joint parliamentary committees.

The plan considers Lebanon a single district and allows each sect to vote for its own lawmakers under a proportional representation system.

But its criticism paved way for another proposal that combines the winner-takes-all and proportional representation systems

Despite all the efforts no agreement was reached to replace the 1960 law, which adopts the qada an electoral district and is based on the winner-takes-all system.

The negotiations ahead of Thursday's expected session come as Suleiman informed his visitors that he would only give consent to a short extension during which the rival parties would agree on a new law or introduce amendments to the 1960 law.

The president has warned that he would challenge any extension that goes beyond six months.

But Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat reiterated that an extension was necessary. He stressed to As Safir that it was impossible to hold the June 16 elections under the deteriorating security situation in the country.

Comments 1
Thumb mckinl 28 May 2013, 14:58

It is clear that the current government under Mikati and Suleiman will only cause more destabilization. They have willfully turned a blind eye to Lebanon's security for their own political advantage for both their domestic and foreign patrons and allies.