Lebanon News

Fatfat: Extension only until presidential election

Future bloc MP Ahmad Fatfat attends a press conference at the Parliament in Beirut, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: The Future Movement is seeking an extension of Parliament only until the election of a new president, MP Ahmad Fatfat said Sunday, stressing that conducting elections during presidential void would lead to a wider vacuum.

“The Future Movement does not walk fast toward Parliamentary extension, but rather toward the election of a president,” Fatfat told the Voice of Lebanon 100.5 radio station.

“We support the technical extension, which means strictly linking the extension to the election of a new president,” he said. “So that the extension would end as soon as we elect a president.”

Fatfat said the Future Movement was “honest toward itself and the people,” stressing that the party rejected holding parliamentary elections during the presidential void, “because that would lead to total void in authorities."

According to Lebanon's Constitution, the Cabinet is automatically considered resigned after a parliamentary election. Since the president is responsible for appointing a new prime minister, holding parliamentary elections under a presidential void would leave a complete vacuum in the executive authority of the government.

Political parties in Lebanon have continuously failed to reach consensus over a new president, and neither March 14 nor March 8 has enough Parliament seats to elect their own candidate as head of state.

Such a stalemate, according to Future MPs, demonstrates that electing a Parliament, and thus ending the Cabinet’s term while presidential vacuum remains, would lead to void in two institutions instead of one.

However, Fatfat said that Speaker Nabih “Berri is optimistic” about the election. The MP slammed the Free Patriotic Movement proposal to amend the Constitution and elect the president through a direct popular vote.

“Aoun is putting new obstacles, because he knows his suggestion will not take place. This proposal divides the citizens,” he said, “and contradicts the first article of the Constitution.”

Separately, Fatfat also commented on former Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s return to Lebanon, saying the move had a “special agenda on supporting the Army and security forces through Saudi Arabia’s donation.” He also stressed that there was “no estrangement” between Hariri and Berri.





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