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Lebanon: Decisive Week for Parliamentary Elections Preparations | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Prime Minister Saad Hariri holds talks at the Grand Serail on Friday with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas/NNA

Beirut- Lebanon is facing a decisive week on the directions of the country’s parliamentary elections expected next May.

President Michel Aoun could issue his final decision regarding signing a decree which calls on the electorate to participate in the next parliamentary elections based on the 1960 law.

Last week, Interior Minister Nohad al-Mashnouq signed the decree that calls on resident and non-resident members of the electorate to participate in the polls, in respect to Article 66 of the current electoral law that stipulates sending the decree to cabinet 90 days ahead of Election Day.

Mashnouq sent the signed decree to Aoun, who should also sign it if elections are to be held next May 21 based on the 1960 winner-takes-all law. But the president has so far not issued his final decision on the issue.

Officials close to Aoun expect him to send back the decree to the cabinet, a step intended to put pressure on the government to discuss a new electoral law.

Meanwhile, political parties are far from agreeing on a joint formula based on which the next elections will be held.

MP Alain Aoun, member of the Change and Reform parliamentary bloc, which was previously headed by President Aoun, said on Friday that the parliament should bare its responsibilities and produce a new law for the polls.

“Elections based on the 1960 law are out of the question,” he said.

The lawmaker said that after Prime Minister Saad Hariri signed the decree, it is now up to the president to make a certain move.

“The president’s moves are expected soon, probably next week. There would be a practical step in this regard,” the deputy said.

Aoun also ruled out extending the term of the current parliament.

Meanwhile, Lebanon’s Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi urged on Friday all parties to unite and support the Republic’s march under the president’s leadership.

Speaking after meeting with Aoun at the Baabda presidential palace, Rahi stressed the need for an electoral law that guarantees citizens’ rights to hold deputies accountable, and which secures the representation of all Lebanese factions at the parliament.