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Asharq Al-Awsat
Asharq Al-Awsat
Beirut - Mohamed Choucair

Lebanon: Berri Favors Dialogue, Awaits Response from Bassil, LF

Lebanon's Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri casts his vote during a recent session to elect a President of the Republic. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

A senior parliamentary source said that the overwhelming majority in the Lebanese parliament expressed its immediate approval of Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri’s call to turn the parliamentary session, scheduled for next Thursday to elect a president for the republic, into a dialogue meeting, in an attempt to break the impasse that hinders the election.

In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, the source said that Berri was waiting for the reaction of the Lebanese Forces party (LF) and the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) to proceed accordingly.

Since the end of former President Michel Aoun’s tenure, successive parliamentary sessions have failed to elect a new president in light of deep divisions among the different blocs.

According to the parliamentary source, the mere approval of the two Christian parties to hold dialogue would mean that the path could be clear to agree on the name of the candidate who would enjoy the support of the parliamentary majority.

The coming hours will be decisive to determine the possibility of proceeding in an open dialogue session or returning to the failed election sessions, the source underlined.

Stressing that there was no alternative to dialogue, the deputy pointed out that the parliamentary blocs, including the Kataeb and the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) have informed Berri of their approval of his call for dialogue, with the exception of the LF and the FPM.

The source noted that Berri was not in favor of holding an election session that would then turn into a dialogue, stressing that such proposal was politically useless.

He added that the approval of one of the two parties would prompt Berri to confirm his call for dialogue, which will be held in a designated meeting room within the Parliament building, with the participation of between 12-15 deputies, who represent the different parliamentary blocs and independents.

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