Berri this time didn’t even bother setting a new date for the presidential election after canceling a session he had scheduled for today. In a press conference from the parliament building, he linked scheduling an election session to receiving a response to his “dialogue” proposal.
Berri, who still maintains that parliament is not closed (closed only to the "illegitimate government", he says), also said he prefers to set a date for the election through the ”dialog roundtable”.
The speaker, representing the Assad regime interests in the country, wants an agreement on an electoral law and the shape of the new government before allowing parliamentarians to meet for any purpose, including electing a president.
Constitutional expert and former MP Hassan Rifai weighed in on Berri's tactics.
Constitutional expert and former MP Hassan Rifai said that Speaker Nabih Berri has no right to postpone the presidential-election session.
“He has to be present in the parliament’s chamber of deputies, and if the required quorum is not available, then he can postpone the session,” Rifai told the Saudi daily Okaz.
“The way Berri has been postponing sessions from his office is a crime punishable by the Lebanese penal code. He has no right to close the parliament,” he added.
According to Rifai, the majority could call on Deputy Speaker MP Farid Makari to hold sessions outside the parliament, as long as they are held in Beirut, in order to elect a president and undertake legislative work.
“The parliament is not to be closed, and MPs have the duty to participate in legislative sessions, especially the presidential session,” Rifai said. (Now Lebanon)