Le­banon’s new par­lia­ment set to hold ..

The Miracle - - Front Page - Source: Al-Jazeera

After a nine-year run and three ex­ten­sions of its man­date, Le­banon’s par­lia­ment has fi­nally dis­solved, paving the way for a new house of assem­bly. Leg­is­la­tors elected in Le­banon’s May 6 par­lia­men­tary vote are set to con­vene on Wed­nes­day for the assem­bly’s first ses­sion, when they are ex­pected to elected a new house speaker. Un­der Le­banon’s sec­tar­ian power-shar­ing sys­tem, the speaker must be a Shia Mus­lim, the pres­i­dent a Ma­ronite Chris­tian and the prime min­is­ter a Sunni Mus­lim. Nabih Berri, who has held the po­si­tion of assem­bly speaker since 1992, is widely ex­pected to be reap­pointed. Once that po­si­tion is filled, the speaker will then over­see the process to elect a deputy speaker. Hezbol­lah, Amal, the Fu­ture Move­ment - led by out­go­ing Prime Min­is­ter Saad Hariri - the Pro­gres­sive So­cial­ist Party and the March 8 move­ment have all de­clared their sup­port for Berri. The fo­cus will then turn to the po­si­tion of prime min­is­ter. Ac­cord­ing to Le­banon’s po­lit­i­cal sys­tem, the pres­i­dent must hold con­sul­ta­tions with the main par­lia­men­tary blocs be­fore nom­i­nat­ing a new prime min­is­ter. The par­lia­men­tary elec­tion, the first in nine years, saw 917 can­di­dates from mul­ti­ple par­ties com­pete for Le­banon’s 128-seat na­tional assem­bly. The elec­tion, which was de­vised un­der a new pro­por­tion- al list sys­tem that di­vided the coun­try into 15 elec­toral con­stituen­cies, was marked by low voter turnout - 49.2 per­cent. The Shia move­ment Hezbol­lah and its al­lies made the big­gest gains, win­ning 70 seats. Hariri’s Fu­ture Move­ment lost more than a third of its power, but re­mains the big­gest Sunni-led party with 20 seats. On Tues­day, Le­banese news out­let al-Jadeed quoted Hariri as say­ing that a de­ci­sion had been taken to form a new gov­ern­ment quickly. “There is a de­ci­sion to ac­cel­er­ate gov­ern­ment for­ma­tion, and I think the sanc­tions on Hezbol­lah could have a positive im­pact and speed up the birth of the new gov­ern­ment,” he said. The sanc­tions Hariri was re­fer­ring to was the mea­sures im­posed by the United States and Arab Gulf coun­tries on May 16 on Hezbol­lah, which tar­geted the Iran-backed move­ment’s top five of­fi­cials, in­clud­ing Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Hassan Nas­ral­lah. T “Col­lab­o­ra­tion with its US pa­tron to sanc­tion the first force to lib­er­ate Arab ter­ri­tory and shat­ter the myth of Is­raeli in­vin­ci­bil­ity,” Zarif tweeted. “Shame upon shame.” How­ever, Le­banon’s po­lit­i­cal pun­dits said that whether these sanc­tions will play a role in the for­ma­tion of a new gov­ern­ment is yet to be seen.

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