MP Ibrahim Kanaan, center, speaks during a press conference at the Parliament in Beirut, Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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MP Michel Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement Friday defended its draft proposal to amend the Constitution to allow the president to be elected via a popular vote, saying it was aimed at restoring democracy and ensuring proper Christian representation in the country's top Maronite post.However, the FPM's draft proposal drew fire from Aoun's Christian rivals, the Kataeb Party and the Lebanese Forces.Former President Amine Gemayel, head of the Kataeb Party, dismissed the proposal as "destructive". Kanaan, flanked by other bloc members, spoke a day after 10 MPs from Aoun's bloc submitted to Parliament a draft proposal to amend the Constitution to allow the president to be elected directly by the people instead of by lawmakers as stipulated by the Constitution."With these [two rounds of voting], the president's sectarian and national representation can be secured, thus providing a permanent solution to the problem of Christian participation in power according to the rules of the National Reconciliation Pact," Kanaan said.He rejected the argument that the draft proposal was floated after Aoun's chances to be elected president declined.
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