June 14: Berri anticipates threat of sanctions

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2023-06-06 | 00:48
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June 14: Berri anticipates threat of sanctions
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6min
June 14: Berri anticipates threat of sanctions

After an absence that lasted since January 19th, when the Parliament held its 11th session, the Parliament reconvenes, after a nearly four-month hiatus, to convene its second session on the 14th of the current month to elect a new president for the republic.

The reopening of the doors of the Parliament, after a long break, came through a statement issued by Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri before noon yesterday, in which he called for a "session to elect a president of the republic at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, June 14th."

 

In form, Berri's step seemed "surprising" even to his closest associates, including his parliamentary bloc member, MP Qassem Hashem, who seemed unaware of his bloc leader's move, stating yesterday morning that Berri would "hesitate to call for a session."

However, in substance, Berri's step appeared to be preemptive of the meeting between the envoy of Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rai, Bishop Boulos Abdel Sater, the Archbishop of Beirut, who opened consultations last Sunday with a meeting with Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.

Before receiving Archbishop Abdel Sater, Berri wanted to have the doors of Parliament open for the presidential deadline once again, outside the influence of the patriarchal efforts.

On the other hand, information indicates that Nasrallah, based on conversations with the patriarch's envoy, gave his ally Berri the "green light" to proceed with scheduling the session, which is what happened.

In addition to these considerations that must be taken into account, we must refer back to the "Nidaa al-Watan" newspaper in its issue published on May 15th.

The newspaper stated at the time: "When the invitation of Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri was announced on the 10th of this month regarding the "necessity of completing the presidential elections at the latest on June 15th," it seemed to be outside the context of what the Parliament Speaker had adopted in recent weeks when he rushed to promote the nomination of the leader of the Marada Movement, Sleiman Frangieh.

But Berri suddenly moved to a mid-month date without any introduction, without clarifying why he specifically chose this date."

Sources told "Nidaa Al-Watan" newspaper, as mentioned in that issue, that "there are serious indications regarding external sanctions that have been considered to be imposed on those obstructing the presidential deadline for more than seven months, and subsequently on those obstructing the formation of a government after the election."

It is normal that the Berri-Nasrallah duo does not disclose the actual motives behind this sudden change in their behavior, shifting in less than 24 hours from the side of obstructing the presidential elections to the side of complying with the constitution, which obligates the Parliament to hold an open session since the first presidency position became vacant at the end of last October.

However, returning to the exercise of constitutional duty has raised the preparedness level to face session number 12 in 8 days.

The latest statistics indicate that the upcoming session will witness the voting of 45 deputies for the candidate of the duo, Frangieh, and most likely, they will use the "white weapon" (blank ballots) as a cover-up for the weakness of their support.

Meanwhile, the opposition candidate, Jihad Azour, is expected to receive 63 votes.

In this case, there will be a second round of voting unless "Hezbollah" decides to return to the pattern of the previous 11 sessions. In this case, they would cause a lack of quorum to prevent Azour from winning.

One of the indicators that favor the opposition candidate is the statement issued yesterday by the "Democratic Gathering" through the Secretary of the Parliamentary Bloc, MP Hadi Abou al-Hassan, who stated that "Azour is not a confrontational candidate, and we have not changed our opinion about him, but the matter is not about the nomination or the vote, but rather about preparing the atmosphere for Azour to reach the presidency."

He asked the Shiite duo: "Why are you worried about Jihad Azour? He is a patriotic person who does not undermine a Lebanese partner."

Former Minister Ahmed Fatfat, who was a colleague of former Minister Azour in the government of Fouad Siniora since 2005, testifies that Azour appeared as a distinguished finance minister who was dedicated to his work and, when necessary, would say no to his prime minister, Fouad Siniora.

The first reaction of "Hezbollah" to the parliamentary development was mentioned in the introduction of yesterday's evening news bulletin on the party's channel, al-Manar, where it was stated that "the period extending from today until the day of the election session will be saturated with political activity, electoral assessment, and the calculation of votes, in which the percentage of hopes will rise based on the facts of numbers."

While Azour was described as the "Trojan horse" of some, it was mentioned that he is still absent, so perhaps God will bless the Lebanese people by hearing his stance and his presidential project, which has garnered the approval of the conflicting sides."

 
 

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