Berri greets Zahra during the Parliament session in Beirut, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017. (The Daily Star/Stringer)
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Prime Minister Saad Hariri said Wednesday that endorsing a new vote law in time for the upcoming parliamentary elections was at the top of the government's priorities, while totally ruling out a new extension of Parliament's tenure.Hariri's remarks, made during a Cabinet session he chaired at the Grand Serail, were apparently intended to respond to some blocs that are implicitly working to keep the controversial 1960 majoritarian system in place ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled in May. In the meantime, Parliament kicked off the first round of a two-day legislative session during which lawmakers approved more than 20 draft laws during morning and evening sessions.Hariri's statement, which effectively backed Aoun's stance on a new vote law, comes amid an escalating row among the rival factions over what an electoral system to adopt for the May elections.However, Parliament's 73-item agenda did not include the 2017 draft state budget or an electoral law.Hariri and some Cabinet ministers were also present.In the evening session, Hariri demanded sending back to the government a draft law for the approval of additional allocations to repay cash advance from the state treasury.
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