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Lebanon News

Maronite bishops reject Lebanon’s current electoral law

Maronite bishops attend the monthly meeting in Bkirki, north of Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, April 4, 2012. (The Daily Star/Elie Mansour)

BEIRUT: Maronite bishops Friday rejected the current electoral law, which is based on a winner-takes-all system and enjoys the support of PSP leader Walid Jumblatt.

The bishops “reject the current law known as the 1960 law because it does not ensure true representation,” said a statement issued at the end of a monthly meeting under Maronite Patriach Beshara Rai.

“Therefore, it is imperative that the new law [ensures] true and fair representation for all components of the Lebanese society and grants expatriates the right to vote,” added the bishops, who stressed the need to hold the 2013 parliamentary elections on time.

“The Lebanese people – living in the country or abroad – are looking forward [with hope that] Parliament will issue a new electoral law that would ensure proper representation,” the statement said.

The law of 1960 adopts the qada as an electoral district and was used in the 2009 elections.

All elections in Lebanon have so far been held based on a winner-takes-all system, which many blame for inciting sectarian feelings and depriving minorities of representation.

In August, the Cabinet approved a draft law that would divide the country into 13 medium-sized districts with MPs chosen by proportional representation. A district would be larger than a qada, the electoral region adopted in the last parliamentary polls in 2009, but smaller than a governorate.

The Progressive Socialist Party of MP Walid Jumblatt favors the current electoral law.

“If there was no new election law, there is the one currently present and we can hold polls based on it,” Cabinet Minister Ghazi Aridi, from Jumblatt's bloc, said Thursday.

Regarding deteriorating living conditions, the bishops called on the government and influential figures in the private sector to “develop a plan for the resurrection of the economy and fighting corruption at all levels.”

It also urged them to “boost workers’ and low-income workers’ rights in order to save this country and open the door of hope for a brighter future.”

 

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