SUN 22 - 10 - 2017
Date: Apr 5, 2017
Source: The Daily Star
Lebanon speaker warns of vacuum if technical extension rejected
BEIRUT: Speaker Nabih Berri reiterated warnings of vacuum in the Parliament, lashing out at rival groups for seeking to impede any agreement on a new electoral law.

“Refusing a technical extension will lead to vacuum at the Parliament,” Al-Akhbar newspaper quoted Berri as saying on Wednesday.

He warned that Parliamentary void will "consequently move into other institutions as well.”

“The game is exposed, they want [the Parliament] to be void.”

Berri's remarks come a day after Prime Minister Saad Hariri sounded upbeat about breaking the months-long deadlock over an electoral law, saying he expected an agreement on a new voting system to be reached within the next few days.

The Lebanese Forces and Free Patriotic Movement have agreed on an electoral draft law put forward by Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, MP Ibrahim Kanaan said Tuesday.

The Change and Reform lawmaker said that the two parties "will reject any technical extension [for parliamentary terms] without any [agreement] on a new electoral law."

Bassil, the leader of the FPM, has unveiled a new hybrid vote law proposal in his latest initiative aimed at breaking the months-long deadlock over a new electoral law.

The proposal calls for electing half of Parliament’s 128 members under a majoritarian system and the other half under a proportional formula in different districts.

Hezbollah and the Amal Movement have been lobbying for the endorsement of a proportional law that treats Lebanon as a single electoral constituency, while the LF, Future Movement and FPM have been supporting a hybrid law to replace the current 1960 electoral law based on a winner-takes-all system.

President Michel Aoun had said he preferred a parliamentary vacuum over extending lawmakers’ terms or holding the elections based on the 1960 electoral law.

Parliamentary elections were last held in 2009 and the terms of MPs were extended twice, in 2013 and 2014.

Parliamentary elections were originally scheduled to take place between May 21 and June 21, but political deadlock is expected to delay elections beyond June.

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