Speaker Nabih Berri, right, receives former Prime Minister Saad Hariri in Beirut, Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014. (The Daily Star/Lebanese Parliament Website, HO)
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Lebanon inched closer over the weekend toward a controversial deal that would extend Parliament's term and resolve a long-simmering crisis over the salaries of public sector employees, a parliamentary source told The Daily Star.Despite the progress in Parliament, sources said there had been no breakthrough in efforts to elect a president, especially after Hezbollah's leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah confirmed Friday that the March 14 coalition should discuss the issue with MP Michel Aoun, March 8's only presidential candidate so far.Berri said that 95 percent of Sunni MPs, 98 percent of Druze MPs and at least 50 percent of Shiite lawmakers were showing up every time he called for a Parliament session to elect a president.Separately, March 14 MPs condemned a weekend speech by Nasrallah, stressing that Hezbollah's armed presence in Syria was not protecting Lebanon, but furthering its exposure to terrorist extremism.Lebanese Forces MP Antoine Zahra said Hezbollah's intervention served the regime in Syria rather than the Lebanese people and had turned the conflict there sectarian.In his speech to mark the end of Israel's 2006 war against Lebanon, Nasrallah dubbed ISIS an "existential threat" to Lebanon and the whole region, but highlighted that the resistance party was capable of thwarting new conspiracies devised for the country and the region.
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