Aoun receives diplomats at the Baabda Palace, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018. (The Daily Star/Dalati Nohra, HO)
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The mounting dispute between President Michel Aoun and Speaker Nabih Berri over the officers' decree was manifested in tension during last week's Cabinet session, when one of the speaker's three ministers, Agriculture Minister Ghazi Zeaiter, walked out of the session, as well as in differences among rival parties over proposed reforms contained in a new vote law to govern the May 6 parliamentary elections, Lebanon's first since 2009 .At the root of the fresh tension between Aoun and Berri was a decision by a Justice Ministry body that ruled that the controversial decree did not require the finance minister's signature as demanded by the speaker, and thus the ruling was seen to be in the president's favor.The decision by the ministry's Legislation and Consultancy Commission came at the request of Justice Minister Salim Jreissati, who asked the body to deliberate in the row over the decree that was signed last month by Aoun, Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Defense Minister Yaacoub Sarraf, sidestepping the finance minister's approval. Berri was reported to have been enraged because the decree lacked the finance minister's signature.However, Jreissati strongly defended the commission's ruling on the decree dispute, saying the legal debate over the decree had finished.
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