BEIRUT: Speaker Nabih Berri has filed his candidacy paperwork for the parliamentary election scheduled for November, defying talk of another extension to Parliament’s mandate.
“The speaker left Lebanon on a personal trip after he filed his candidacy for the parliamentary elections,” his office said Thursday.
Speaking to The Daily Star, March 14 sources said that Berri’s move was “insignificant,” adding that Future Movement MPs would not file their candidacies.
The sources said Interior Minister Nuhad Machnouk would at some point tell the Cabinet that it would be difficult to hold elections.
MP Yassin Jaber, from Berri’s Development and Liberation bloc, told a local radio station that he and his colleagues would file their candidacies for the elections in the coming days.
The bloc’s move comes despite talk of a possible extension of Parliament’s term due to security concerns and the presidential vacuum.
The speaker has rejected postponing the election for a second time, arguing that another extension would be futile if MPs continued boycotting legislative sessions.
Parliament extended its term for 17 months in May 2013, citing the deteriorating security situation, but many viewed the failure of political factions to agree on a new election law as the primary obstacle.
“Parliament should convene to be able to look into necessary matters,” Jaber said.
He said several draft laws held more priority than the one proposed by MP Nicholas Fattoush to extend Parliament’s term for two years and seven months.
“How can the extension draft law proposed by MP Fattoush pass when Parliament is paralyzed?” Jaber said.
March 14 MPs and lawmakers from the Free Patriotic Movement are boycotting legislative sessions, arguing that in the absence of a president, Parliament can only meet to look into urgent draft laws.