Aoun to Address Nation as Upbeat Hariri Intensifies Contacts on Parliament Crisis

President Michel Aoun will address the nation on Wednesday on the eve of a controversial parliamentary session aimed at extending the legislature’s term, the Presidency said.

A terse statement issued by the Presidency said the speech will be made at 8:00 PM and that it will tackle “the current political developments.”

Prime Minister Saad Hariri meanwhile canceled all his appointments for Wednesday to “dedicate his time to intensive contacts with the President, the Speaker and the various political forces in order to reach a solution for the issue of the draft electoral law and avoid any negative repercussions,” his office said.

“God willing, we will reach a solution before tomorrow,” an optimistic Hariri told reporters earlier in the day.

Hariri’s talks at the Grand Serail involved meetings with a delegation from the Change and Reform bloc, Social Affairs Minister Pierre Bou Assi of the Lebanese Forces and MP Wael Abu Faour of the Progressive Socialist Party.

“No agreement has been reached until the moment and a lot of negotiations will be held throughout the night,” Abu Faour said from the Grand Serail.

Bou Assi for his part said “thorough discussions are currently underway and contacts are being made at all levels.”

“We have announced our principled stance, but at the same time, if there are possible solutions, we will take that into consideration,” Bou Assi added.

MTV said “one of the solutions that are being mulled to spare the country a crisis is Speaker Berri’s possible postponement of tomorrow’s session for a few days.”

LBCI television meanwhile said that Aoun might use his presidential powers to suspend parliament’s activities for one month in line with Article 59 of the constitution.

“This would postpone tomorrow’s session, but for the decision to enter into effect it requires the signatures of the prime minister and the relevant ministers,” LBCI added.

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