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Lebanon News

No president means Parliament extension: Future MP

Future bloc MP Mohammad Hajjar warns that not electing a president will mean the extension of the Parliament's term. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

BEIRUT: Future bloc MP Mohammad Hajjar warned his political rivals Wednesday that if they do not cooperate to elect a new president, they face a definite extension of the Parliament’s term.

“The Future Movement is eager to conduct the parliamentary elections on time, on the condition that they are preceded by presidential elections,” Hajjar told Voice of Lebanon 100.5 radio station.

“But whoever really wants to go into parliamentary elections should [first] pave the way for the election of a new president,” he added. “If the [presidential] elections don’t take place, extension will definitely occur.”

The statement is in line with Future Leader Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who launched an initiative earlier in July “drawing a road map to save Lebanon.”

Hariri’s initiative stated that electing a president should be the first step, while MP Michel Aoun’s earlier initiative had in turn called for amending the Constitution and passing a new electoral law to conduct parliamentary elections on time.

Similarly, MP Yasin Jaber from Speaker Nabih Berri’s Development and Liberation bloc said the extension of the Parliament’s term was “the most odious of the permissible.”

“There is no final decision to confirm the extension so far, but in light of the difficult circumstances that Lebanon and the region are living ... extension would be the odious but permissible, “ Jaber also told Voice of Lebanon 100.5 Wednesday.

Parliament extended its term for 17 months last May. The excuse for the extension was the dangerous security circumstances, particularly in Tripoli.

The extension had prompted a wide range of condemnation and pushed Lebanese civil society activists to hold demonstrations and sit-in near the Parliament building in Downtown Beirut.

Most major political parties had expressed their will to change the current electoral law but failed to reach a consensus on a new law. The inability to agree on a new electoral law had also been used as an excuse for extending the Parliament’s term by many parties, while others stress the necessity to conduct elections even through the controversial “1960 law,” which was used in the 2009 polls.

 

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Summary

Hariri's initiative stated that electing a president should be the first step, while MP Michel Aoun's earlier initiative had in turn called for amending the Constitution and passing a new electoral law to conduct parliamentary elections on time.

Similarly, MP Yasin Jaber from Speaker Nabih Berri's Development and Liberation bloc said the extension of the Parliament's term was "the most odious of the permissible".

Parliament extended its term for 17 months last May.

The inability to agree on a new electoral law had also been used as an excuse for extending the Parliament's term by many parties, while others stress the necessity to conduct elections even through the controversial "1960 law," which was used in the 2009 polls.


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