Berri Rejects Another Extension of Parliament’s Mandate

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Speaker Nabih Berri has stressed that the parliamentary elections should take place as scheduled even if a new president was not elected and MPs failed to agree on a new electoral law.

He was quoted on Monday as saying that he rejects attempts to renew parliament’s four-year mandate, which was extended last year to November 20, 2014.

The 17-month extension, which took place in May 2013, came after the rival parliamentary blocs failed to reach agreement on a new electoral law.

Berri told As Safir daily that he would support holding the polls based on the controversial 1960 law if a new law was not approved by November.

The 1960 law adopts the qada as an electoral district and is based on the winner-takes-all system.

Berri also expressed surprise by “the insistence of some parties to paralyze parliament under the excuse of the vacuum in the presidential post.”

“If one hand is paralyzed, would the solution be by paralyzing the other hand too?” he asked.

The speaker, who is also the head of AMAL movement, reiterated the need to invest in security as the country is gripped with a political crisis amid deadly suicide attacks carried out by extremists.

“The security situation remains dangerous despite all the achievements made by the security agencies,” he said.

Berri hailed the coordination between the agencies, saying they are a “source of trust among the Lebanese amid a deteriorating political situation that was accompanied by the execution of the presidential elections and the paralysis of the government.”

Lebanon has been without a head of state since May 25 when President Michel Suleiman’s six-year term ended after the parliament failed to elect a successor over differences on a compromise candidate.

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