BEIRUT

Lebanon News

March 14 to resume talks on electoral law

March 14 MPs stand a minute of silence in support of Syrian uprising as other lawmakers stay seated at the Parliament in Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, March 15, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

BEIRUT: The March 14 coalition agreed Monday to resume discussions on a new elections law with rival politicians after settling on a secure location to hold the talks, in a move that opens the way for agreement on a draft law under which the 2013 elections would be held.

“After the attendees agreed to resume the work of the committee tasked with studying a new elections law ... they voiced the committee MP's willingness to temporarily stay in a hotel within Parliament's security perimiter," Future Movement MP Samir Jisr told reporters.

His remarks came during a news conference at the residence of MP Butros Harb in Hazmieh after a meeting of opposition lawmakers.

Work on a new elections law was halted in October after opposition lawmakers boycotted legislative subcommittees, including the one looking into several electoral proposals to replace the 1960 law based on the qadaa and a winner-takes-all system.

Formed in early October, the subcommittee was tasked with studying the type of the electoral system and the distribution of electoral districts in the absence of Cabinet members or representatives.

The boycott came after the Oct. 19 assassination of a top intelligence chief in a bid to add further pressure on the current Cabinet to resign.

Monday’s announcement came after weeks of discussions between the opposition and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri to resume the talks on the draft electoral laws.

Former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora told The Daily Star Sunday that the March 14 coalition would respond positively to Berri’s proposal for resuming the discussions on the elections laws.

During the news conference, Jisr also said that the March 14 group opposed any delays to the elections being held on time and called for an elections law that “genuinely represents the people.”

"Any delay to the elections represents a seizure of power and allows those in control with arms to continue seizing power indefinitely, which would violate the rules of national partnership,” he said.

Jisr also reiterated the opposition’s call for the formation of a neutral government to oversee the 2013 parliamentary elections.

 

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