'Hizbullah to lose veto power in parliament'

Hariri adamant that previous blocking arrangement won't be repeated.

By ROSE FORAN, THE MEDIA LINE NEWS AGENCY
June 16, 2009 07:24
2 minute read.
'Hizbullah to lose veto power in parliament'

Saad Hariri 248.88. (photo credit: )

 
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The Hizbullah-led March 8 coalition will lose their veto power in the new parliament, according to Lebanese officials. The "blocking minority" veto power the party enjoyed in the past year will not be reinstated. Instead, Hizbullah will receive certain guarantees from Sa'ad Hariri's March 14 coalition on issues of importance. While negotiations regarding the new parliament are scheduled to take place next week, Hariri's party is adamantly against Hizbullah's coalition wielding the ability to veto, citing the previous arrangement as unconstitutional. "Our position is very clear: we prefer not to have a blocking third - it didn't work," an official close to Hariri who asked not to be named told The Media Line. "The blocking third compromise was a temporary arrangement that ended with the elections. We have a new reality now." "If you put obstacles and conditions in the beginning, it means there will be more blocking and more gridlock, and it will not go over well for the future of the country," the official said. Because Future Movement MP Sa'ad Hariri has not yet been named prime minister, the official would not comment on concessions and assurances Hariri will make to Hizbullah in place of veto power. "Hizbullah has received assurances from Sa'ad Hariri," Dr. Hilal Khashan, Middle East scholar and chair of the Department of Political Studies and Public Administration at the American University of Beirut confirmed to The Media Line. "He said everything will be discussed quietly and all decisions will be reached on the basis of consensus, which will means there will be no need for Hizbullah to use the veto power." To Hizbullah, he claims, "Veto power is not at all important." This assertion contradicts statements made by members of Hizbullah, who have vowed that they will not participate in the new government if they cannot exercise the veto. In response to such statements, Khashan said, "In Lebanon there is a gap between what people say and what they do." "All Hizbullah wants is that the question of their military wing will not be brought up for discussion," Khashan continued. "They also want guarantees, and they got the guarantees that the cabinet will not make anti-Hizbullah decisions." Khashan sees these guarantees as a way for Hariri to harbor cooperation among the political factions in parliament. "He still needs to learn his way through the turbulent waters of Lebanese politics," Khashan said of Hariri. "And he would rather start his term as prime minister in calm and quiet waters."

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