Lebanon – Jumblat Holds Onto Taef Accord, Dialogue to End Political Crisis

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Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat described his meeting with Speaker Nabih Berri as “excellent,” saying he is convinced that dialogue and abiding by the Taef accord are the only solutions to end the political deadlock in the country.

“It is necessary to periodically meet with Berri and discuss with him all the developments,” Jumblat said in comments to As Safir newspaper on Wednesday.

Concerning discussions on a new electoral draft-law, the Druze leader pointed out that “eventually, there’s one constant matter that we all agree on, which is the Taef accord.”

“Priority will always be the Taef… We reject any formula that targets it,” Jumblat told the newspaper.

The two officials held talks on Tuesday night in Ain el-Tineh.

According to An Nahar daily, the PSP chief also contacted on Tuesday evening al-Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc leader MP Fouad Saniora.

Sources close to Jumblat told the newspaper that he would rather work for achieving a breakthrough to the dispute between the political foes, than remain ineffective amid the opposition’s boycott of government-related activity.

Jumblat launched an initiative in November that focuses on the need for the return of all political powers to dialogue, ending any boycott, and halting the tense media exchanges between the rival factions.

A PSP delegation has already met with President Michel Suleiman, Berri, Prime Minister Najib Miqati, and several other party leaders to push forward Jumblat’s initiative.

The sources voiced hope that the electoral subcommittee meetings wouldn’t turn into “electoral outbidding campaigns.”

The subcommittee resumed its meetings on Tuesday after the March 14 opposition agreed to Berri’s proposal for its members to reside in a hotel near the parliament building in downtown Beirut, as a safety precaution.

The subcommittee discussed several electoral draft-laws as the political rivals lack consensus over whether to adopt a law based on proportional representation or winner-takes-all systems.

 

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