Lebanon News

Berri calls on bloc to file election paperwork

FILE: Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri arrives at the National Dialogue session held at Baabda Palace, Lebanon, on Monday, June 25, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: Speaker Nabih Berri called on members of his bloc to announce their candidacy for general elections, political sources said, although the fate of the poll is uncertain amid calls to extend Parliament’s mandate a second time.

The sources quoted Berri’s visitors as saying that the speaker had contacted all 13 members of his Development and Liberation Bloc to ask them to submit their application to run for election starting Friday, ahead of the Sept. 16 deadline.

The move signaled Berri’s determination to maintain his opposition to the extension of Parliament's mandate.

The speaker, who also heads the Amal Movement, has repeatedly stated that he rejects extending the parliament’s term for the second time.

Parliamentary elections are scheduled for Nov. 16, after being delayed by 17 months last May. MPs at the time cited the unstable security situation as preventing the election, though the inability to agree on a new election law was seen as the main cause behind the extension.

This time, while parties across the political spectrum agree that constitutional deadlines should be respected, many oppose holding general elections while the presidential post remains vacant.

According to the sources, the elections could face another hurdle if the public school teachers decide to boycott the poll, as they did with grading official exams, as a means to push for their demands for salary hike.

The Interior Ministry employs 11,000 teachers in polling stations in addition to another 5,000 to carry out administrative tasks.

Berri’s move came a day after Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk had issued a memorandum demanding those who want to run in the elections to submit the required documents in the period between Aug. 28 and Sept. 16.





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