Lebanon News

Lebanon's Cabinet to resume discussion on draft electoral law

President Michel Sleiman, center, heads a Cabinet session at Baabda Palace in Beirut, Wednesday, July 25, 2012. (The Daily Star/Dalati Nohra, HO)

BEIRUT: Lebanon's Cabinet decided Monday to continue discussion of a draft electoral law based on proportional representation until July 31.

"The Cabinet resumed [Monday] discussion on the electoral law and discussed the size of electoral districts and its numbers as well as expatriate voting and discussion was postponed to tomorrow morning's session," Information Minister Walid Daouk told reporters following the Cabinet session at Baabda Palace.

Cabinet had also been scheduled to discuss an amendment to the draft law forwarded by Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour that calls for enabling expatriates to use Internet voting. Mansour also proposed the election of expat MPs.

Daouk also quoted President Michel Sleiman, who chaired Monday’s session, as stressing the need to swiftly finish the 2013 state draft budget in order to finalize it on time.

According to Daouk, Sleiman also praised the role of security forces that recently arrested the mob behind bank robberies across the country and the role of the Lebanese Army for arresting a “terrorist group.”

A Baabda Palace source told The Daily Star that the president was referring to the recent arrest of three individuals in the Chouf, Mount Lebanon, following a raid on their residence which revealed a cache of weapons, including Israeli-made landmine fuses.

Prior to the Cabinet session, the National News Agency quoted Interior Minister Marwan Charbel, who put forward the draft elections law, as saying that the aim of Monday's session was to finalize discussion on the draft law and approve it.

"The direction is to approve it via consensus or voting and discussion will focus on the issue of districts," Chabel told reporters.

The Progressive Socialist Party has voiced concern and disapproval over an electoral law based on proportional representation saying it would serve a blow for the party's representation in Parliament.

Speaking to reporters before the session, Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour, member of the PSP bloc, said the party would voice objection to the presented draft law.

"The president insists on finalizing the draft law [in this session] to be referred to Parliament where it will be subject to the political guillotine," the minister said.





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