Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri chairs a session of the national dialogue at Parliament in Beirut, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015. (The Daily Star/Lebanese Parliament Website, HO)
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A new, crucial round of national dialogue set for next month is unlikely to make any breakthrough in the key topics on its agenda – the presidential election, a new voting system and the shape of a new government – because the gap is still wide between rival leaders, dialogue members said Wednesday.Rival March 8 and March 14 leaders, who met in a national dialogue session at Speaker Nabih Berri's Ain al-Tineh residence last month, have agreed to meet in three successive sessions on Aug. 2, 3 and 4 to try to reach a package deal over key issues, including the election of a president, a new voting system, the shape of a new government and administrative decentralization.Former Minister Ghazi Aridi, who has been representing Jumblatt's bloc at national dialogue, painted a gloomy picture of the political situation, warning of a worse situation if no agreement is reached by the rival factions before the election of a president.Aridi said assuming that dialogue leaders reached agreement on a new voting system to replace the controversial 1960 law, and even if parliamentary elections were held on the basis of a new or old law, this would not facilitate the election of a president.
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