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Lebanon News

Civil campaign warns against extending Parliament’s mandate

  • Activists launch a campaign against the extension of the Parliament mandate in Beirut, Thursday, July 3, 2014. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)

BEIRUT: The Civil Movement for Accountability Thursday launched a campaign calling for parliamentary elections, claiming that a new electoral law based on proportional representation should be adopted.

“Don’t you [politicians] dare extend your terms! It’s time we hold you accountable, and setting a new electoral law is the only way we can do that,” said Mayada Abdallah, a board member of the Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections, at a conference held at UNESCO palace.

The campaign calls for a new electoral law to be set before the middle of August 2014, arguing that the current law does not allow for accountability and will ensure that the same political figures be elected again and again.

“A just law is the gateway to proper elections, and proper elections are the gateway to accountability, and it is through accountability that we can realize our rights and revive government institutions,” said Abdallah, referring to parliamentary polls slated for November.

The CMFA announced it would hold daily demonstrations after Eid al-Fitr in Beirut and eventually across the country. The campaign also launched the #WeWantToHoldYouAccountable on social media to encourage mobilization.

Abdallah told The Daily Star that CMFA’s main objective was to ensure that elections are held on time, adding that “it is almost difficult to set a new electoral law before the coming elections, but we insist that timely elections take place so the forthcoming Parliament can set new legislation” she added.

The campaign will also demand reforms called for by the Civil Campaign for Electoral Reforms, such as a proportional system of representation, a gender quota in government, a supervisory council to supervise elections, a reduction in the minimum voting age, and pre-printed ballots, said the LADE board member.

Earlier this week, Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun proposed changes to the electoral system in which citizens would elect the president directly in a two-staged process allowing Christians first, and then all Lebanese citizens, to select a head of state.

“We [CMFA] have always supported popular elections since that ensures accountability. But we reject the two-staged process because the president is supposed to represent all Lebanese and not just Christians,” Abdullah said.

Parliamentary polls are set to start in November, but a two-month presidential void and stalemate in the presidential election has stirred doubts over whether parliamentary elections will be held on time.

Lebanon’s Parliament extended its mandate by a period of 17 months in May of last year, when elections were set for June 2013.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 04, 2014, on page 3.
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Summary

The Civil Movement for Accountability Thursday launched a campaign calling for parliamentary elections, claiming that a new electoral law based on proportional representation should be adopted.

The campaign calls for a new electoral law to be set before the middle of August 2014, arguing that the current law does not allow for accountability and will ensure that the same political figures be elected again and again.

Parliamentary polls are set to start in November, but a two-month presidential void and stalemate in the presidential election has stirred doubts over whether parliamentary elections will be held on time.

Lebanon's Parliament extended its mandate by a period of 17 months in May of last year, when elections were set for June 2013 .


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