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Lebanon News

Geagea to rally support for Bkirki Committee's electoral draft law

  • Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea attends a March 14 meeting in Maarab, Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012. (The Daily Star/Aldo Ayoub, HO)

BEIRUT: Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea said Thursday he would work to garner support for the electoral draft law prepared by the Bkirki Committee, which he says best ensures proper representation of Christians.

“The best electoral draft law adopts smaller districts. This is what we propose, and we will launch the widest round of contacts possible to rally support for it,” Geagea said in reference to the Bkirki Committee’s draft law. His comments came during a news conference at his residence in Meerab, north of Beirut.

The Bkirki Committee, under the patronage of the Maronite Church, prepared an electoral draft law calling for small districts and proportional representation.

Geagea said once discussion begins on the electoral draft law prepared by the Cabinet in Parliament, amendments could be made to the proposal to make it compatible with the Bkirki draft law.

The Cabinet’s electoral draft law is based on proportional representation, but divides Lebanon into 13 electoral districts, rather than many small ones, as envisaged by the Bkirki Committee and Geagea.

The Progressive Socialist Party along with Geagea's allies in the Future Movement have voiced rejection of the Cabinet's law due primarily to its inclusion of proportional representation. 

Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri has vowed to block the proposal's endorsement in Parliament.

The LF leader also slammed the 1960s law, used in the 2009 polls and supported by the PSP, saying: “It is not legally or technically appropriate.”

He added that the March 14 coalition was against postponing the 2013 parliamentary elections.

During the news conference, Geagea said that the Justice Ministry should differentiate between victims of enforced disappearance and prisoners in Syrian jails, saying two separate committees should be established to look into the two matters.

“Kidnapping someone based on his identity and taking him to Syria is a case in and of itself ... you can’t simply lump such cases in with prisoners in Syrian jails,” Geagea said.

“There are 17,000 individuals who were victims of enforced disappearance, while there are 500 people known to have been in Syrian prisons. It is not right to put the two cases together,” he added.

Justice Minister Shakib Qortbawi heads up a recently established independent, national committee to follow up on the cases of those who went missing during the Civil War.

 
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