Lebanon News

Electoral subcommittee still debating law as deadline looms

Discussion on a new law for elections will convene again Monday. (The Daily Star/HO)

BEIRUT: The subcommittee studying draft laws for the upcoming parliamentary elections received two new proposals Wednesday and will convene Monday to continue discussions.

“A proposal by MP Akram Shehayeb was discussed and MPs shared their remarks [on the law],” MP Robert Ghanem told reporters after the subcommittee’s morning session.

Ghanem said that Shehayeb would discuss the observations of the MPs with his colleagues in the Progressive Socialist Party. Under Shehayeb’s draft law, the country would be divided into 13 districts – 82 MPs would be elected under a winner-takes-all system and 46 under proportional representation.

In the afternoon session, members of the subcommittee considered a proposal presented by MP Ali Bazzi that stipulates 64 MPs be elected under proportional representation and 64 under a winner-takes-all system.

The subcommittee’s members agreed that any hybrid law should include fair representation for Christians and all of the country’s sects.

They said that in order to apply such a hybrid system, they recommended a winner-takes-all system in at least 26 districts, and the creation of between five and nine districts that would see MPs elected based on proportional representation.

The MPs also urged that no group propose a draft law that aims at eliminating rivals, and said any hybrid law should be applied equally to each sect.

Metn MP Sami Gemayel, from the Kataeb Party, and Chouf MP George Adwan, from the Lebanese Forces, said that Shehayeb’s draft law does not provide fair representation for Christians.

Gemayel said he would propose his own hybrid law to the subcommittee Monday. He explained that his draft law stipulates that 60 percent of MPs be elected under a winner-takes-all system and 40 percent under proportional representation, with the adoption of qadas as electoral districts.

The subcommittee has been given an extension of 15 days to finish its work.

Berri told lawmakers who attended his weekly meeting with MPs that he has referred a draft electoral law presented by the Future Movement earlier this week to the Cabinet for discussion before it is referred to Parliament’s joint committees.

He added that the Future Movement’s other draft law, which calls for Amending Article 22 of the Constitution to establish a Senate, will have to wait until March 19, based on parliamentary procedures.

The speaker voiced hope that reaching a consensus on a vote law would pave the way for an accord between political groups that the country was in need of, given the dangerous circumstances Lebanon is experiencing.

The Future Movement Monday proposed dividing the country into 37 electoral districts under a winner-takes-all system.

A delegation from the party visited LF leader Samir Geagea to discuss the proposal. After meeting with Geagea, the Future delegation discussed developments with PSP leader Walid Jumblatt at his residence in Beirut.

The meeting was attended by Transport and Public Works Minister Ghazi Aridi, Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour and Minister of the Displaced Alaeddine Terro and.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on February 07, 2013, on page 3.




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