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Lebanon: Efforts to Resolve ‘Rift’ Between Aoun, Berri | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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President Michel Aoun, left, stands next of Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, right, as he makes a speech after he was elected the new president at the parliament hall, in Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. (Ali Fawaz, Lebanese Parliament media office, via AP)

Beirut – With the end of the Lebanese Parliament’s ordinary cycle on Wednesday, attention is focused on the session scheduled by Speaker Nabih Berri on June 5, which is expected to witness disagreements over “authorities” and the interpretation of the Constitution by President Michel Aoun and Speaker Nabih Berri.

Parliament convenes in two ordinary cycles from mid-March till the end of May and from mid-October through the end of December, according to the Lebanese Constitution.

As the ordinary cycle ended today, deputies can no longer convene to pass laws unless the president and the prime minister agree to open an extraordinary parliamentary cycle.

Berri said on Monday that Parliament could extend its regular sessions beyond May 31 after Aoun suspended sessions for one month.

On Tuesday, Aoun reiterated that the parliamentary elections would be based on a proportional law, upon the agreement of the different political factions.

For his part, Lebanese Forces Leader Samir Geagea said that 95 percent of the latest electoral law proposal – based on the proportional representation in 15 districts – has been finalized and “the remaining 5% will not be an obstacle.”

In remarks to the Central News Agency, Geagea said that there would be no return to the 1960 electoral law despite what he described as a “dangerous political rift” between Aoun and Berri.

The LF leader said all possible efforts would be deployed to guarantee a final agreement on the proposal.

“We are conducting intensive contacts aimed at easing or ending the presidential political clash” between Aoun and Berri, Geagea said.

Hezbollah parliamentary bloc MP Mohammed Raad said that many factors have signaled some progress in the negotiations over the electoral law.

Raad noted that political parties have agreed on key convergent views, adding that other debated details could be surpassed.

The head of the Change and Reform parliamentary bloc and Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil reiterated on Tuesday his rejection to parliamentary vacuum or extension.

In remarks following the bloc’s weekly meeting, Bassil said that the president could not allow vacuum to take place in parliament. He also stressed the bloc’s support to a proportional system.