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Hezbollah backs proportional representation for 2013 polls

This TV grab shows Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah speaking on a TV screen during a ceremony in Beirut's southern suburbs, Friday, May 11, 2012. (The Daily Star/TV grab)

BEIRUT: Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah voiced support Friday for an elections law based on proportional representation, describing it as the most optimal system for the upcoming polls which he said needed to be held on time.

Nasrallah also said Hezbollah has the ability to hit multiple targets in Israel, including Tel Aviv, and said the Jewish state was entering the era of its doom.

“Proportional representation is the most optimal system. Proportionality paves the way for multi-party representation for every sect,” Nasrallah said.

He said there are Lebanese communities who are not represented in Parliament that seek an elections law that offers them the opportunity to participate in the legislative body.

“Whether Lebanon is designated as one district or divided into five main ones, such a system guarantees the best chance for representation [in Parliament],” he said.

Nasrallah also said that his party could ensure representation in Parliament regardless of the elections law adopted in the country, thus leaving the door open for dialogue over other proposals for a new electoral system.

“We call for further dialogue and not to be fed up or dismayed and not to have one party force its option on the rest,” he added.

The Hezbollah chief spoke on the occasion of the completion of the Waad project aimed at rebuilding parts of the southern suburbs of the capital that were damaged in the July-August 2006 war between Lebanon and Israel.

The Cabinet is currently debating a draft electoral law based on proportional representation.

The bill, proposed by Interior Minister Marwan Charbel, has received support from the president, prime minister and March 8 coalition parties but has been outright rejected by Future Movement leader MP Saad Hariri and Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt.

Nasrallah said that he understood concerns by the PSP but that the Future Movement’s opposition was based on its desire to dominate the Sunni sect.

“The Future Movement insists on a single-party domination within the Sunni community,” Nasrallah said.

During his one-hour speech, the Hezbollah chief also said the 2013 parliamentary elections needed to be held on time and denied allegations by his rivals that the March 8 alliance aimed at postponing what Hariri has described as “crucial” elections.

Nasrallah also said that his party could target Tel Aviv in any future war with the Jewish state.

“We are capable of not only hitting specific targets in Tel Aviv but also any place in occupied Palestine,” he said.

“The era has come when we survive while they will be doomed to extinction,” Nasrallah added.

Speaking of a “real equation” between Israel and the resistance, Nasrallah said: “For every building that is destroyed in the southern suburbs, several buildings will be destroyed in Tel Aviv in return.”

“The era when our homes get destroyed and theirs remain [intact] is over,” he added.

Many of the building in the capital’s southern suburbs, a Hezbollah stronghold, were targeted in aerial attacks by the Israeli army in the 2006 conflict.

The Waad project, named after an address by Nasrallah on Aug. 14, 2006, hours after a cease-fire with Israel came into effect, was launched in June 2007. During that speech, Nasrallah promised that his party would help reconstruct the heavily damaged buildings in the southern suburbs.

On Syria, Nasrallah accused Friday the United States, its Western allies and Israel as well as some countries in the region of seeking to destroy its Arab ally.

"America, the West, Israel and some regional powers only seek to destroy the only supporter for the resistance in Lebanon and Palestine," he said, referring to Damascus.

He added that the troubled country faced two scenarios: that dialogue and reforms follow the elections or that the country plunge into civil conflict, citing Iraq as an example.

 

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