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Berri Says Elections Should be Held Earlier than Scheduled | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri heads a session of the national dialogue, aimed at discussing ways out of a political crisis at the parliament building in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, September 9, 2015. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

Beirut- Lebanese Speaker Nabih Berri is calling for moving the date of parliamentary elections forward, by adopting practical measures and rehabilitating the existing electoral mechanism to match the new electoral law.

The Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), for its part, said elections should be held before their scheduled date in May 2018, with the cancelling of the magnetic card that many believe would complicate the electoral process.

In remarks on Wednesday, Berri said parliamentary elections should be held sooner than the agreed-upon date of mid next year if no agreement is reached on a magnetic voting card.

“Since there will be no card, then I am with reducing the Parliament’s term and for elections to be held at the soonest opportunity,” he added.

The use of the magnetic voting card was stipulated in the new proportional electoral law, which was endorsed by Parliament in June.

Despite the fierce competition between Berri and the FPM on some electoral seats, especially in the Jezzine region (east of Sidon), the party welcomed the idea of bringing the elections closer.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, FPM official and former MP Salim Aoun noted that the postponement of the elections for a relatively long time was made under the pretext of preparing the magnetic cards.

“Since this pretext does no longer exist, it is more useful to hold the elections at the earliest opportunity,” he stated, adding that his movement has initially “approved the extension of parliament’s term due to the excuse of magnetic cards, which we considered a fundamental reform.”

For his part, member of the Liberation and Development Bloc, MP Michel Moussa, told Asharq al-Awsat that the decision to advance the elections date needed an agreement between the different political blocs.

“This also needs a legislative session to issue a law to shorten the mandate of the current Council,” Moussa said, stressing that no excuses “can hinder the holding of elections.”