Reuters International

FILE PHOTO - Lebanon's Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil talks during an interview with Reuters at his office in Beirut September 10, 2015. REUTERS/Jamal Saidi


BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanon's rival parties reached agreement on Tuesday on an electoral law, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil said, staving off a political crisis and paving the way for a parliamentary election.

The agreement still needs the approval of the cabinet in a meeting scheduled for Wednesday, and will then be sent to parliament.

"Today we have reached a political agreement between the political sides," said Bassil, an ally of President Michel Aoun.

It will take at least seven months to prepare for an election, Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk said.

The agreement averts a crisis that had threatened to unravel the political deal that brought Aoun to office last year, more than two years after the previous president left.

Politicians have spent months wrangling over the new law and had a deadline of June 20 to pass it before parliament's term expired.

Had that deadline passed, parliament would have had to agree to extend its own term, something that could have prompted a backlash from Lebanese citizens.

(Reporting By Angus McDowall and Lisa Barrington; Editing by Kevin Liffey)


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