Lebanon News

PM Saad Hariri pledges a new electoral law to Parliament

Prime Minister Saad Hariri speaks with Moen Merabi before addressing lawmakers at the beginning of a two-day parliamentary session, Thursday, April 6, 2017. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: Prime Minister Saad Hariri Friday pledged that the government will send a new electoral law to the Parliament.

“The electoral law should take into consideration the fears [of some parties] about representation in the Parliament,” Hariri said, speaking on behalf of the Cabinet.

Hariri was addressing MPs who were meeting for a second time this week to continue their evaluation of the Cabinet's progress and to discuss a new electoral law.

“As a government, we are responsible to reach a new electoral law and to avoid the threat of vacuum in the state,” he said.

Describing Lebanon as “a corrupt oligarchic state," Change and Reform Bloc MP Ghassan Moukheiber condemned the stalemate on finding a new electoral law, speaking during the parliamentary session.

"We are not a democracy, unfortunately," he said.

Parliamentary elections were originally scheduled to take place between May 21 and June 21, but political deadlock is expected to delay elections beyond June.

Rivals remain divided on the form of the new voting system, which would replace the current 1960 majoritarian system.

Many parties have favored hybrid electoral law, which combines aspects of the proportional and majoritarian voting systems.

But MP Boutros Harb decried all electoral law proposals saying that "they are projects aimed at ending the political diversity [in Lebanon]."

The elections will face a technical delay that might take longer than six months.

Hariri also asked the MPs to remember that the unfounded and generalized accusations “of corruption without evidence are negative for investment.”

He said that the government is doing its best to reassure investors, solve current issues of power generation and ensure transparency.

"We look forward to a Lebanon free from sectarian politics," Hezbollah MP Hussein Musawi had said during the session, adding that there is “an opportunity to revive the country” through combatting corruption.

"There were appointments [to public posts] that were not based on merit and integrity," Lebanese Forces MP George Adwan said, adding he hoped this would not happen again.

MP Alain Aoun, a member of Change and Reform Bloc, said that the government "should allow the private sector and banks to launch investment and infrastructure projects."

MP Sami Gemayal, also Kataeb chief, lashed out against the Energy Minister Cesar Abi Khalil’s electricity plan for renting out power ships "instead of building power plants."

Lebanon already has two ships producing 370 MW. They are owned by the Turkish company Karadeniz Powership Orhan. Abi Khalil wants to lease two additional power barges to give the Energy Ministry and Electricite du Liban more time to build new power plants that have the capacity to provide all of Lebanon with 24 hours of electricity in the future.

 

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