Presidential Vacuum Grips Parliament as Debate Rises on Extension Period

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The ongoing presidential deadlock has put its weight on the parliamentary elections as political powers in the country are currently discussing the extension of the assembly’s term by six months or two years.

Sources close to the March 14 alliance told al-Akhbar newspaper published on Tuesday that the coalition was mulling either staging timely parliamentary elections or extending the term of the legislature for another six months.

Lebanon will enter on August 20 a deadline to agree on a new electoral law ahead of the November elections.

“We reject the extension (of the parliament’s tenure) for two years,” the sources pointed out.

The daily quoted sources as saying that the Christian powers “must be granted the final word before any extension.”

However, circles close to the Progressive Socialist Party told the newspaper that “prolonging the term of the parliament for six months is useless as nothing is expected to change during this short period of time.”

Speaker Nabih Berri continuously reiterated his rejection to extend parliament’s term.

Last year, the parliament had voted to extend its own mandate for 17 months after the rival political parties failed to reach a new electoral law.

Around 100 MPs from all blocs, except the Change and Reform bloc, voted to extend parliament’s term until November 20, 2014.

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