Speaker Berri wages ‘fiercest campaign’ against FM Bassil over electoral system


berri defLebanon Speaker Nabih Berri “waged the fiercest campaign” against Foreign Minister Jebarn Bassil and his request to amend the electoral system.

Berri stressed that  he won’t allow any changes and assured  the people that the country will stage timely polls, al-Joumhouria daily reported Saturday.

Berri was quoted  by his visitors as emphasizing he “won’t open the door for changes,” expressing surprise at “attempts of some to picture themselves as keen on expatriates, forgetting that I was and still have the slogan that Lebanon can only rise with both its wings, the residents and expatriates.”

Berri was referring to Bassil’s request to extend the deadline registration for Lebanese expats living abroad wishing to cast their ballots in the upcoming legislative elections.

The measure requires opening an extraordinary parliament session in order to make changes to the electoral law system, which Berri strongly opposes.

“The elections will take place on time. The prevailing atmospheres will not affect nor hinder their timely implementation,” said the Speaker.

“There may be someone who wants to overthrow the election, but he will not be able to,” he added.

Parliamentary elections are set for May 6, while overseas ballots will be cast in April.

Lebanese nationals living overseas will have the chance for the first time in Lebanon’s history to cast ballots from abroad. Lebanese expatriates reportedly had a hard time registering due to problems with the  government websites . There are twice as many Lebanese abroad  as in Lebanon but only about 91 000 managed to register to vote

The country has not organized parliamentary elections since 2009 and the legislature has instead twice extended its own mandate.

The last polls were held under an amended version of the 1960 electoral law.