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The open-ended political confrontation between the president and the Parliament speaker over a decree promoting a number of Army officers has shifted to a new vote law following a proposal by Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil to the Cabinet to extend the deadline for Lebanese expatriates to register to vote in the upcoming parliamentary elections. In the meantime, President Michel Aoun Wednesday took his feud with Speaker Nabih Berri over the officers' decree to a new crescendo by implicitly accusing the Shiite speaker of infringing on the Maronite president's powers, in the latest phase in the saga of an escalating dispute between the two leaders that threatens to throw the country into political turmoil ahead of crucial parliamentary elections slated for May 6, Lebanon's first since 2009 . Khalil, a top political aide to Berri, said he had prepared "a tough response" during the Cabinet session to Bassil's proposal, based on previous agreements among the political parties.Aoun defended a decision by a Justice Ministry body that ruled that the controversial decree did not require the finance minister's signature as demanded by Berri.
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