How revolting is it to see the speaker of parliament visiting Bashar Assad to get his blessings for another round of time-buying? Berri has forgotten about the election of a president, scandalously putting it behind him, focusing on pushing forward Assad's agenda, which consists of paralyzing all state institutions until the MPs change, whether through violence or election.
Speaker Nabih Berri said that he will suggest to Lebanese factions that a dialogue be established in parliament on April 18, 19, 20 and 21 during which leaders will discuss the adoption of a new electoral law and the establishment of a national-unity government.
“The candidacy of Army Commander General Michel Sleiman has already been agreed upon,” Berri told the Lebanese daily As-Safir.
“If we reach an agreement, we will hold the presidential elections on April 22. If not, the elections will be postponed,” he added.
He noted that he is waiting for the results of the decisions made at the Arab Summit before establishing the dialogue. “If things are clear, I will undertake two important visits, one to Damascus and another to Riyadh,” Berri said.
“I will decide on my coming moves in light of the results of these two visits and of internal contacts, especially with MP Saad Hariri,” he added.
He also noted that the decisions made during the national dialogue roundtable are final. “It is the implementation procedures that are being debated.”
Berri said that if the situation remains as it is until the summer, “we must seriously consider an interim government that will prepare for the legislative elections in 2009.” He also stressed on the importance of agreeing on an electoral law, whether the 1960 or the 2000 models, the law suggested by the national committee under the presidency of Fouad Boutros, “or any other formula for a fair and just law.”
Berri said he fears that Lebanon will reach the 2009 legislative elections without an electoral law in place and with the legislative and presidential vacuum continuing. “This is why my priority is the electoral law,” he said.
So Berri wants to resume setting the agenda, after a brief interruption during which Michel Aoun was given the reign. If indeed the electoral law is a priority, then Berri should convene parliament right away to discuss it. But no, he couldn't do that. What if the deputies actually got together in one room and dared to "implement" their right to, say, elect a president?
It is sad, and depressing, that these simple truths evade so many. Berri should not be allowed to keep hijacking the process, and blaming lack of progress on "implementation procedures being debated". He should not get away with warning that if things don't go his way, " we will lose Lebanon". If you ask me, the priority right now should be losing Berri and his illegal "dialogue". The man has clearly sold his conscience to his Damascus master. He also clearly does not speak for parliament, so why continue to pretend that he does?
ANB is reporting that Berri is currently meeting with Assad in Damascus. This comes as Siniora, the prime minister Berri does not even recognize, is being reported as saying that Syria is holding Lebanon hostage.
Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora accused Syria of holding Lebanon hostage by blocking the election of a new president following talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Siniora told reporters he saw the Lebanese-Syrian relationship as one of siblings and “one sibling cannot kidnap his brother and keep him hostage in the hope of getting a ransom,” he said.
He urged Arab foreign ministers to hold an extraordinary meeting to discuss the political deadlock in Lebanon and the country's strained relations with Syria. Siniora also called for the implementation of the Arab initiative, which calls for the election of Army Commander General Michel Sleiman as president, the formation of a national-unity government and the adoption of a new electoral law.
Siniora's retarded analogy apart, it pains me to see that Berri's latest call for dialogue is not being met with across the board rejection from March 14. We have heard a few voices, but it looks like at least Jumblatt and Gemayel are willing to humor Berri, for reasons only known to them. That's despite their acknowledgment that the war against Lebanon is taking the form of "deactivation" of its institutions.
President of the Kataeb party Amin Gemayel said he believed the difficulty of the Lebanese situation today had led some Lebanese to despair. “It is their right to be afraid, particularly when they see institutions under attack, the presidency in total vacuum, the parliament closed, and the Lebanese army subject to attempts at its destruction,” he added.
Gemayel said the war on Lebanon had taken a new form. “The war on Lebanon is not by guns or arms, but through the deactivation of institutions and political, social and economic life.”
“We resist this war, and we will win. We will not despair or fear,” he said.
How the hell are you going to "win this war" while keeping Berri in charge of you?