Hariri and Bassil arrive for a Cabinet session at the Presidential Palace in Baabda, Monday, April 10, 2017. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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Prime Minister Saad Hariri Wednesday reaffirmed his government's commitment to the adoption of biometric identity cards and to holding next year's parliamentary elections on time in what appeared to be a response to Speaker Nabih Berri's proposal to shorten Parliament's term and conduct early polls. Hariri made the announcement after meeting Berri in Parliament on the final day of a two-day legislative session that endorsed a host of draft laws, including the oil tax bill that effectively cleared the way for foreign companies to bid for offshore oil and gas exploration in Lebanon's territorial waters.A day after the Cabinet approved in a special session on Sept. 17 the use of biometric identity cards in next year's parliamentary elections, after dropping the magnetic voting card system previously proposed, Berri announced that his parliamentary bloc had presented an urgent draft law aimed at shortening Parliament's term and calling for early polls to be held before the end of 2017 .
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