Lebanon News

Makari: Risky security to freeze talks on electoral law

Deputy Parliament Speaker Farid Makari, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

BEIRUT: Deputy Parliament Speaker Farid Makari said in remarks published Saturday his concern for the lives of lawmakers prevents him from resuming discussions on a new electoral draft law in the wake of a recent assassination.

“I would convene the parliamentary subcommittees' meeting but the only obstacle that keeps me hesitant is the reality of security that should be taken into consideration,” Makari told pan-Arab Al-Hayat newspaper.

“There are five parliamentarians of the committee who have received death threats ... they don't leave their houses,” he added.

Makari was referring to himself along with Future Movement MPs Serge Torsarkissian and Ahmad Fatfat, National Struggle Front MP Akram Shehayeb, Lebanese Forces MP George Adwan, and Kataeb MP Sami Gemayel.

Last week, a car bomb ripped through a neighborhood in the Beirut district of Ashrafieh killing at least three people including Brig. Gen Wissam al-Hasan, head of the police’s Information Branch. The explosion also wounded over 100 people.

Days after Hasan’s assassination, five Future bloc lawmakers said they received death threats from Syria via text message, including Fatfat.

The March 14 coalition blames President Bashar Assad for Hasan’s killing and accuses the Lebanese government headed by Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s Cabinet of providing the necessary cover for the crime.

In a bid to pressure Mikati to resign, the opposition group said it would boycott parliamentary work but media reports have indicated that the alliance could participate in the committees studying a new electoral law.

In his interview with Al-Hayat, Makari said he was not responsible for the security of the parliamentarians and “consequently would not resume discussions.”

“Whoever wants to bear such a responsibility should call for the resumption of sessions,” he added.

The subcommittee, made up of representatives of rival blocs, is studying controversial items related to the type of electoral system and the size of districts to be used in the upcoming parliamentary polls.





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