Salam receives Harb in Beirut, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016. (The Daily Star/Dalati Nohra, HO)
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Speaker Nabih Berri Monday called Parliament to meet Thursday to elect a president but the new session is doomed to fail like the previous 33 over a lack of quorum, further prolonging a presidential vacuum, now in its 19th month.Further adding to the difficulties of filling the presidential vacuum were new Saudi-Iranian tensions sparked by Saturday's execution of a prominent Shiite preacher, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, in Saudi Arabia, a development that dashed hopes for a political deal between regional powers and local players to facilitate the election of a new president. The soaring Saudi-Iranian tensions are also bound to leave adverse effects on the yearlong dialogue between the Future Movement and Hezbollah, that has been sponsored by Berri since December 2014 with the aim of defusing sectarian and political tensions, exacerbated by the almost 5-year-old war in Syria.However, MP Hasan Fadlallah, one of three Hezbollah officials representing the party in the dialogue with the Future Movement, told The Daily Star Monday that the talks between the two rival parties would go ahead as planned on Jan. 11, signaling that the dialogue would not be halted as a result of the tensions between Riyadh and Tehran.
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