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Berri to hold House session next week: LF MP

Speaker Nabih Berri speaks with Lebanese Forces MP George Adwan in Parliament on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

BEIRUT: Speaker Nabih Berri is expected to call for a legislative session, Lebanese Forces MP George Adwan said Tuesday.

A political source, however, downplayed the possibility of the session being held next week.

Meanwhile, Berri met with representatives of some of the country’s main political parties to discuss the situation following the resignation of the government last week.

"The House speaker will hold a parliamentary session next week in order to preserve the role and work of Parliament," Adwan told reporters after talks with Berri at the speaker’s Ain el-Tineh residence.

The MP also said that lawmakers were currently studying means to “legally annul” the 1960 law used in the 2009 parliamentary polls, while working at the same time on a new electoral proposal.

“We are currently working with Berri on abolishing the 1960 law legally and constitutionally in the coming days and weeks and at the same time [continuing] to work on a new electoral law,” he said.

A political source told The Daily Star that the there was a possibility that a parliamentary session would be convened but said there was no set date for the meeting.

Berri met Tuesday Hussein Khalil, Hezbollah’s chief Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah’s aide, and Caretaker Health Minister Ali Hasan Khalil as well as Marada Movement official Youssef Saade and Caretaker Energy Minister Gebran Bassil, a member of MP Michel Aoun's bloc.

He later met with Adwan and Kataeb MP Sami Gemayel separately.

Ali Hamdan, an adviser to Berri, said Tuesday’s meetings were aimed at maintaining contacts among political parties following the collapse the government.

“The atmosphere of the meetings today was good and contributes to the spirit of consultations and dialogue between various parties to widen the circle of hope after the government’s resignation,” Hamdan told The Daily Star.

The political source said Berri would be meeting with a Future Movement parliamentary delegation Wednesday.

Adwan Tuesday said there was a need to launch consultations as soon as possible to name a new prime minister-designate and form a new government to replace the present caretaker one.

“It is necessary to exclusively begin parliamentary consultations to name a new prime minister [designate] and Dialogue cannot do away with the consultations or come before them,” he said.

Najib Mikati announced the resignation of his government last week following disputes within the Cabinet over extending the mandate of Police chief Maj. Gen. Ashraf Rifi and the creation of a committee to oversee the June 9 polls.

Hezbollah and its allies in the government opposed both issues, arguing that the formation of the supervisory body meant a step toward holding the elections based on the 1960 law which is rejected by most of the country’s figures.

Lawmakers who began studying a new electoral last year have yet to agree on a single electoral proposal, casting doubt on the fate of the elections which are scheduled to be held on June 9.

Gemayel, who spoke after his meeting with Berri, said the speaker was leaning toward the formation of a salvation government in the meantime to administer the country’s affairs.

 

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