BEIRUT: The 2013 elections will be held based on the 1960 law that was used in the previous parliamentary elections if Parliament fails to agree on a new electoral law in time, Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai said Tuesday.
“Everyone is for a change in the electoral law so that voters would have more say and an MP would not be imposed on the voters. But in case there is no agreement, the 1960 law will be ready for use in the next election: The most important thing is that the elections are not postponed,” Rai told reporters at the Rafik Hariri International Airport upon his return from the Vatican.
Despite overwhelming support for reforming the country’s ailing electoral law, rival March 14 and March 8 coalitions have so far failed to agree on a new electoral proposal. Earlier this year the March 8-dominated government proposed the adoption of a new electoral law based on a proportional representation system with 13 medium-sized electoral districts.
March 14 officials, who have rejected proportional representation, proposed an electoral law based on 50 small districts.
Rai said that the Maronite Church prefers holding the elections with the de facto electoral law rather than postponing them.
The 72-year-old Rai was recently named a new cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI and was officially elevated over the weekend, joining the world’s 120 Catholic cardinals and becoming the second Lebanese cardinal alive after former Patriarch Cardinal Nasrallah Butros Sfeir.
“Lebanon needs its leaders to sit at a dialogue table to solve the country’s problems,” he said.
Urging Lebanese politicians to resume National Dialogue at the Baabda Palace, Rai said that the day Lebanese reject the value of Dialogue, they will lose the values that make them human.