Lebanon News

PSP proposes hybrid vote law for upcoming elections

File - MP Ghazi Aridi speaks during a press conference in Beirut, Saturday, April 22, 2017. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: The Progressive Socialist Party Saturday proposed a version of a hybrid electoral law to govern Lebanon's upcoming parliamentary elections.

“We are looking forward to a new electoral law to base the coming elections on,” PSP MP Ghazi Aridi said in a news conference at the party’s office in Beirut.

“We are betting on agreement and collaboration [among parties],” he added, speaking before PSP official Hisham Nasserdine announced the formula.

When asked if the proposal was meant to buy time, thereby extending parliamentary terms, Aridi said that was not the case.

“We do not want term extensions and we do not want a vacuum,” he said.

Under the PSP’s hybrid proposal, voters would choose 64 MPs on a winner-take-all basis across 26 electoral constituents, similar to the system of the current 1960 electoral law.

The remaining seats would be elected on proportionality in 11 electoral constituents based on the administrative districts.

Aridi added that an agreement is needed “to fortify internal unity, stability and economic conditions.”

“We have presented ... [our] thoughts to Speaker Nabih Berri,” Aridi added, expressing hope that an agreement on a new law would be reached before May 15.

Parliament was set to hold a legislative session on April 15 to vote on basing the upcoming elections on the current 1960 majoritarian electoral law.

But President Michel Aoun postponed the voting session until May 15, in order to make room for further deliberations among political parties.

Aoun had said that he was against a third extension of the terms or vacuum, adding that he would activate Article 59 to end the stalemate.

Article 59 says that “the president may postpone the Parliament’s meeting for a period not exceeding one month, but he may not do this twice during the same session (cycle).”

Parliamentary terms have been extended twice, once in 2013 and again in 2014.

2017 Parliamentary elections were originally scheduled to take place between May 21 and June 21, yet political deadlock is expected to delay elections beyond June.

Free Patriotic Movement leader Gebran Bassil praised the initiative in a tweet after the PSP announced its vote law proposal.

"Regardless of our [FPM] opinion about it (the PSP's proposal), it is a positive move and a step forward," Bassil said on Twitter.

Bassil has proposed a number of vote law formulas that were met with opposition by rival political parties.

Separately, Marada Movement leader Sleiman Frangieh Saturday expressed his support for full proportionality as a basis for the 2017 elections.

“Full proportionality ensures a proper and adequate representation where no one is treated unjustly, most notably the Christians of rural areas,” Frangieh said in a meeting with the Marada student body in his north Lebanon residence in Bneshaai.

However, Frangieh added that he would be willing to support any vote law proposal that would have “a unified standard” of representation in Parliament.





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