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Lebanon News

Rivals in talks to extend Parliament's mandate: Abu Faour

Lawmakers attend Parliament session in Downtown, Beirut, Wednesday, July 23, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

BEIRUT: Lebanese politicians are in talks over means to extend Parliament’s mandate once again, Health Minister Wael Abu Faour said in remarks published Saturday.

“The Progressive Socialist Party has been honest with the public and I am saying that there is an ongoing serious discussion on extending Parliament’s mandate,” Abu Faour told An-Nahar.

“The PSP supports holding the polls on time, but everyone knows that there is no possibility of holding the Parliamentary election in the near future, therefore, talks are centered on the means to extend and for how long.”

Although several political figures have said that the November polls should be held on time, the lack of agreement and an initiative to discuss a new electoral law only means that the election will be postponed.

Lebanon’s Parliament extended its mandate by a period of 17 months in May of last year, when elections had been set for June 2013. The extension came after politicians failed to draft a new electoral law to replace the 1960 law, which was outright rejected by all Christian parties.

Politicians argued then that the polls could not be held in light of the worsening security situation in the country, linked to the crisis in neighboring Syria.

In separate remarks, Prime Minister Tammam Salam said that political parties must come to an agreement on a new law if they seek to hold the polls on time.

"Politicians should reach an agreement on any law if they want to hold the election. If there was a political decision to hold the polls, then they will be held,” he told Al-Joumhouria.

On Friday, Abu Faour sounded convinced that the Parliamentary election would not take place in November as scheduled.

“We do not think that the parliamentary election will be held. Publicly, politicians want the election to be held on time while they discuss means of extending Parliament's mandate behind closed doors,” he said.

He also said that the dialogue between the Future Movement and its rival, Speaker Nabih Berri, bore fruit and paved the way for the passing of the Lebanese University decree, and would most likely resolve other disputed issues.

 

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