BEIRUT: The Free Patriotic Movement, the Lebanese Forces, the Kataeb party and the Marada Movement announced their inclination to endorse an electoral system based on proportional representation after a meeting sponsored by Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai Friday.
Representatives of Lebanon’s major Christian parties discussed the adoption of a new electoral law in a bid to reach a common position and seemed inclined toward a system of proportional representation, though in-depth talks have yet to take place over the partition and size of electoral districts.
The talks aimed to outline a “road map” to reach a united stance among Christian parties which are divided over the geographic partition of electoral districts and a voting system that would suit such geographic partitions, sources close to the church said.
LF deputy leader George Adwan, FPM official Alain Aoun, Kataeb Central Committee coordinator Sami Gemayel and Marada Movement official Youssef Saade attended the meeting headed by Rai at the Maronite patriarchate’s summer residence in Diman.
Civil society activists including former Interior Minister Ziyad Baroud, Issam Fares Institute director Abdullah Abu Habib and a number of bishops also participated in discussions.
While the FPM appears to favor adopting a system based on proportional representation in either large or medium-sized districts, their allies in the Marada Movement appear to support proportional representation in small-sized districts, if the current law has to be amended.
Despite intense political rivalry with the FPM, the LF also seemed in favor of proportional representation in medium-sized electoral districts.
Following the meeting, Aoun described discussions as “very constructive,” a position echoed by both allies and political foes.
“We support proportional representation and there are efforts so that all parties adopt a united plan, which we will elaborate after consecutive meetings,” Aoun told reporters.
Likewise, Adwan told reporters that views among participants were “very close” but added that further in-depth discussions were required before an agreement is reached.
“As the LF, we lean toward proportional representation,” Adwan said.
Saade said the representatives expressed similar views on the matter, adding that the Marada Movement was in favor of proportional representation in small or medium-sized districts.
Wrapping up the outcome of Friday talks, Baroud said an agreement over the adoption of an electoral law based on proportional representation was likely, but the size and partition of electoral districts would require further discussion.
A statement released by the patriarchate said the patriarch will host a larger gathering of Christian politicians in mid-September to follow up on the issue.
Separately, the Maronite League and a delegation of Greek Orthodox politicians discussed the approval of a new electoral law.