Report: Marathon Meetings over Election Law as Speaker Prepares for Technical Term Extension

Several meetings between various political parties were held on Monday to discuss a new electoral law for the upcoming parliamentary elections before the current parliament’s term ends on June 21, as the parliament bureau meets on Tuesday in what reports said is a preparatory convention for the parliament’s term extension.

A tripartite evening meeting was held on Monday -after the cabinet convened at Baabda Palace earlier during the day- between Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil, Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil and Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s chief of Staff Nader Hariri.

It came as a continuation of a similar meeting held Sunday night that continued until dawn in efforts to reach a new voting system for Lebanon’s parliamentary polls.

Another quadripartite meeting was held in Ain el-Tineh, Speaker Nabih Berri’s official residence, between Bassil, Khalil, Hariri and Hizbullah representative, to complete the search for a way out in an electoral law format that recognizes proportional representation.

Sources following up closely on the elections file, said the successive Sunday and Monday meetings did not lead to a major breakthrough.

For his part, Berri has invited the parliament bureau for a meeting on Tuesday which appeared to reflect the orientation of the Speaker to hold a plenary parliament session for legislative reasons in a bid to extend the parliament’s term, al-Joumhouria said.

According to the information, the plenary session is a precautionary measure taken by the Speaker in the absence of any election law format from the government.

They also said that it is a “serious effort to push the government into a speedy approval of a new law.”

Shall the parliament convene on Thursday, it is likely that a bill proposal will be discussed to extend the mandate of the parliament.

Al-Joumhouria said, the bill proposal allows a three months technical extension of the parliament’s term that should be associated with a preliminary commitment of all political forces to prepare an election law during that period.

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