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hariri 14Former Lebanese PM and Future Movement leader MP Saad Hariri announced on Wednesday that his party will participate  in Thursday’s legislative session, ending days of speculation on the issue.

He said in a statement: “The movement will take part in the meeting to approve financial draft-laws.”

“Participation in the session will fall in Lebanon’s financial and economic interests, as well as its ties with the international community,” he stressed.

Moreover, he declared: “After Thursday’s session, the movement will not attend any legislative session that will not be aimed at addressing the parliamentary electoral draft-law.”

The lawmakers attending Thursday’s session will also vote on the draft-law on restoring the nationality of Lebanese expatriates, added Hariri.

“We call on all fellow lawmakers from all parliamentary blocs to attend Thursday’s meeting to emphasize partnership, coexistence, and the need for unity during this tense time to steer Lebanon towards safety,” he stressed.

The Christian blocs of the Lebanese Forces and Free Patriotic Movement will not attend the meeting over the failure to include the electoral draft-law on the agenda.

The phalange  Party will also not attend the session  due to the ongoing presidential vacuum.

The dispute over the electoral law dates back to 2013 when the political parties failed to agree on a new one, resulting in parliament extending its own term and postponing the elections.

Financial issues

Financial issues will dominate the agenda on Thursday and Friday as the country risks cancellation of World Bank loans and must vote on legislation to help protect its relationship with banks worldwide.

Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil said on Thursday that  the “required number of MPs will participate in the session,” saying that 38 items were up for discussion.

“The most important of the items which will be agreed on (include) those related to approval of agreements on World Bank loans,” he said.

“Draft laws which aim to keep Lebanon away from financial and banking penalties” over issues such as money laundering and trans-border cash movements would also be high on the agenda, he said.

World Bank loans planned for Lebanon, which is struggling to cope with more than a million refugees from Syria’s conflict, will be cancelled unless approved by parliament before the end of the year, risking more pain for an economy already hit by the deadlock.

Lebanon’s central bank governor on Tuesday said it was essential the parliament meet to pass laws for development loans, debt issuance and banks, urging politicians to break the impasse harming the economy.

One of the rare occasions parliament met was a year ago, when it extended its own term until 2017, after legislative elections were postponed for a second time.

Parliament has failed to elect a new head of state in the absence of consensus on who should fill the position that fell vacant when Michel Suleiman’s term expired 17 months ago. Berri has called 30 sessions to elect a new president.

The unity government headed by Prime Minister Tammam Salam is barely functioning.

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