Prime Minister Saad Hariri meets Minister Talal Erslan. (Dalati Nohra)
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A ministerial committee tasked with the implementation of a new electoral law failed Wednesday to make any breakthrough, as in previous meetings, reflecting enduring differences among the rival factions over a voting mechanism to govern next year's parliamentary elections, the first since 2009 . Despite almost daily reaffirmations by the country's top leaders that parliamentary elections planned in May, 2018, would be held on time under the new vote law based on proportional representation, the parties remain split over two issues: the adoption of biometric voting cards and voters' preregistration in their place of residence rather than their place of birth. Last month, the Cabinet approved the use of biometric identity cards in the elections after dropping the magnetic voting cards – a key element of the new vote law.Rival factions are still split over the use of biometric voting cards in the elections. Although Cabinet allocated $130 million for the biometric cards, Machnouk said last month that biometric IDs would not be ready in time for the elections. For his part, Speaker Nabih Berri reaffirmed that parliamentary elections would he held on time, saying there would be no new extension of Parliament's mandate, which was extended in 2013 and 2014 and again in June this year to allow time for the implementation of the new vote law.
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