Lebanon News

Cabinet to resume discussion on election law next week

President Michel Sleiman, center, heads a Cabinet session at the Presidential Palace in Baabda, Monday, July 30, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: The Cabinet agreed Tuesday to hold a third session next week to resume discussion of a draft electoral law based on a system of proportional representation after failing to reach agreement in two meetings.

“The Cabinet continued studying and debating the parliamentary election draft law. The texts of articles relating to the voting system were read article by article,” Information Minister Walid Daouk told reporters after the Cabinet meeting chaired by President Michel Sleiman at Baabda Palace.

He said that the ministers also examined the size of electoral districts, the formation and the mission of a committee designed to supervize the 2013 parliamentary elections and electoral lists.

Daouk said Prime Minister Najib Mikati called the Cabinet to meet at Beiteddine Palace next Monday to continue debating the draft electoral law based on proportional representation presented by Interior Minister Marwan Charbel.

Daouk said there were differences of opinion in the Cabinet on some articles in the draft electoral law, including the issue of proportional representation and the number of electoral districts. He added the Cabinet did not put the divisive articles of the draft law to a vote.

The Cabinet failed at its meeting Monday to agree on all the articles of the draft law amid divisions between rival political factions on a new law that can best represent the Lebanese in next year’s elections.

None of Charbel’s four proposals to dividing electoral districts was agreed upon during Monday’s session. The proposals call for adopting 10-14 medium-sized districts.

Sleiman has voiced his support for a draft electoral law based on proportional representation and vowed to prevent a return to the 1960 election law which adopts the qada as an electoral district and was used in the 2009 round.

Speaker Nabih Berri, Mikati, Hezbollah and its March 8 allies, including Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun, have voiced support for an electoral law based on proportional representation.

However, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt have rejected such a draft electoral law. Jumblatt has repeatedly voiced his objection to a law based on proportional representation, fearing that it would diminish his parliamentary bloc.

Charbel said a Cabinet vote on proportional representation would decide if this draft law is applicable in next year’s elections. He told the Voice of Lebanon radio station that only the PSP rejected the proposal. He added that a large segment of the Lebanese rejected the 1960 electoral law.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on August 01, 2012, on page 3.




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