Lebanon News

Lebanon speaker says no progress in vote law talks

Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri heads a legislative session, Beirut, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: Speaker Nabih Berri has said that no progress has been made in talks over a new voting system for Lebanon and rejected any draft law that does not abide by the applied norms.

"I have exhausted all my efforts and now I have nothing to offer. The ball is in the government's court," Berri said in remarks published in Al-Joumhouria newspaper Monday.

The speaker said that the solution was "simple," adding that there is "a Constitution that should be implemented. It [states] the establishment of a senate." Berri said, "I will not violate the Constitution, let others do so."

"In conclusion, I am waiting for you [rivals to agree]. Bring your proposal."

"The 1960 system has no place in Lebanon's political life. My stance is clear: The salvation of our country lies in proportionality. Whoever wants to relieve Lebanon should abide by this approach," Berri said.

Berri also said in remarks published in An Nahar newspaper that a quadripartite committee seeking to bridge the gap over a new voting system to replace the disputed 1960 majoritarian system "remains unproductive."

However, the speaker added that the four-party committee was exerting efforts to reach an agreement.

The committee is comprised of representatives from his Free Patriotic Movement, the Future Movement, the Amal Movement and Hezbollah.

President Michel Aoun was reportedly happy with the endeavors made by the quadripartite committee.

“The committee is debating three [vote] formulas, but the most plausible one is the hybrid formula,” FPM chief Gebran Bassil said in an interview with Al-Jadeed TV Sunday night.

However, Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt is still holding onto his recently declared position on supporting the 1960 law.

The parliamentary term has been extended twice, in 2013 and 2014, over alleged security concerns.

Upcoming elections are scheduled for May, but many fear that the polls will be postponed yet again due to disagreements over the nature of the new electoral law.

 

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