Lebanon News

Deputy speaker expects MPs to extend Parliament's term

Lawmakers attend a Parliament session in Beirut, Wednesday, April 10, 2013. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

BEIRUT: Deputy Speaker Farid Makari said he has dim hopes for upcoming electoral discussions and expects Parliament to extend its term after it fails to agree on a new election law, according to remarks published Sunday.

“This session will end with extending Parliament' term for 6 months to a year,” Makari told the daily An-Nahar.

Extending Parliament's term for six months is an easy way of saying that the lawmakers failed to reach consensus, he said.

Parliament is scheduled to convene this week for several days of discussions on crafting a new electoral law to replace the one in effect, an amended version of the 1960 law. Current proposals, including the sect-based Orthodox law are strongly opposed by some of the nation's major political parties.

Speaker Nabih Berri has said that proposal from the Orthodox Gathering, which only allows for voting within sects, will be the first item on the agenda. Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati, Future bloc lawmakers and MP Walid Jumblatt's bloc have all said they may boycott a vote on that proposal that they strongly oppose.

Makari also noted that Parliament's extension could be renewed if regional events continue as they are.

“If the regional scene is not clear enough, they will extend it for another 6 months,” he said. “It is an extension that allows for another extension or renewal.”

Rival groups have accused each other of seeking to postpone the June elections but both the March 14 and March 8 groups have called for the polls to be held on time.





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