Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri speaks with Deputy Parliament Speaker Farid Makari in Beirut, Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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Lebanon settled a months-old debate Wednesday when Parliament extended its term for more than two years, paving the way for possible dialogue between March 8 and March 14 rivals over the presidential issue.Out of 127 MPs, some 97 lawmakers turned up for the session, with 95 voting in favor of the draft law proposing the second extension, including rivals from the Future Movement and Hezbollah. Along with the first extension in May 2013, MPs elected in 2009 have now given themselves a second full four-year term without any elections.The extension, which came days after Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah offered to cooperate with the Future Movement to protect Lebanon from mounting security threats linked to regional turmoil, could open the door for talks between both groups aimed at ending more than five months of presidential vacuum.However, lawmakers dispersed immediately after the extension vote.Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, a member of Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement, slammed the extension session as a "holdup of Parliament".Hitting back, LF leader Samir Geagea said Aoun's bloc was entirely to blame for the extension.
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