BEIRUT: Speaker Nabih Berri’s opposition against a second extension of Parliament's term is firm and not strategic, according to MPs who visited him Wednesday, a stance that Hezbollah appears to be supporting.
“I refuse to extend Parliament’s term again, and I am not maneuvering as some may think. The extended chamber proved to be ineffective,” Berri was quoted as saying by parliamentarians.
“What is the use of extending the life of a Parliament that does not legislate, does not assume its role fully,” Berri said.
The speaker stressed that electing a new president of the republic was his main priority, a matter, he said, on which he agreed with the head of the Future Movement, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, at their last encounter.
Asked to comment on the teachers’ boycott of grading official exams until their salaries and ranks are adjusted, Berri vowed to have the issue “on top of the agenda of the first Parliament session.”
Hezbollah MPs who visited Berri at his residence in Ain al-Tineh Wednesday said the party had not taken a final decision regarding the parliament’s fate, stressing, however, that there is a tendency toward supporting the speaker’s stance.
Berri’s stance flies in the face of the prevailing political attitude, which views a second extension as nearly inevitable due to the vacuum in the presidency.
The Lebanese Constitution requires general election to be held by November 16, 2014.
The elections, originally set for June 2013, were delayed by Parliament last May. MPs cited the security situation as the cause of the delay, but the inability of rival parties to agree on a new election law also made holding the election impossible.