Jumblat Accepts Technical Extension of Parliament Term, Urges Rivals to ‘Learn from Past’

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Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat voiced his consent to a “technical” extension of the parliament’s tenure, calling on the political arch-foes to “learn from the past.”

“I will agree on a technical extension for a year, which should be accompanied by the election of a new head of state,” Jumblat said in comments published in al-Mustaqbal newspaper on Thursday.

He stressed that the extension period shouldn’t “be forever,” predicting that it should be “a year utmost.”

Asked about the possibility of finding a breakthrough regarding the presidential deadlock during this period, the Druze leader said: “I have no idea… The Maronite establishment should be asked this question.”

“I wish they would remember the past and learn from it.”

Last week, Zahle MP Nicolas Fattoush proposed a draft-law for the extension of the parliament’s term by two years and seven months, citing security reasons.

The cabinet called on electoral bodies on Tuesday to begin preparing for the parliamentary polls as the country entered on August 20 a deadline to agree on a new electoral law.

The constitution stipulates that there should be a 90-day period between signing the decree and holding the vote.

A ministerial source told al-Liwaa newspaper on Thursday that the “extension will be for a short period, unbinding and linked to the election of a new president.”

On Jumblat’s tour on Maronite leaders as part of his efforts to convince the rival leaders to elect a compromise president, the PSP chief said that he “would rather make his last stance at the end of his meetings.”

He has so far met with Marada Movement chief Suleiman Franjieh, Hizbullah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun.

Jumblat is also expected to visit Kataeb party leader Amin Gemayel and Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea.

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