File - MP Fouad Siniora attends a press conference at the Parliament in Beirut, Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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Lawmakers are expected to meet in a crucial legislative session next week to extend Parliament's mandate for more than two years, overriding opposition from civil organizations, in a move designed to prevent the country from descending into deeper political malaise.Siniora said he planned to meet with Speaker Nabih Berri in the next few days to agree on the extension draft proposal presented by Zahle MP Nicolas Fattoush and other draft laws to be debated by Parliament's general assembly.Fattoush's draft proposal calls for the extension of Parliament's term for two years and seven months to make it a full four-year mandate after lawmakers, citing security concerns, extended the House's term for 17 months in May 2013 .Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk last month reiterated that his ministry was not prepared to hold parliamentary elections, scheduled for Nov. 16, given the precarious security conditions, sending the strongest signal yet that the vote would be postponed and clearing the way for an extension of Parliament's term.Civil associations have been campaigning against a new extension of Parliament's mandate. In a bid to break the presidential deadlock, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri called on the March 8 and March 14 parties to reach consensus on a new president, after talks with Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai in Rome last week. He also said a new extension of Parliament's mandate was essential to prevent the country from entering the unknown.
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